The problem, Greenstone continues, is that the government simply doesn't have good data on what works and what doesn't. But there's a solution. "We should take one-half of 1 percent of funding for every program and use it for evaluation," he says.
Without a national system to track identity, lenders in developing nations are challenged by identity fraud, rendering the establishment of credit bureaus near impossible.
Biometric technology such as using computers to track identity with fingerprints may be a possible solution. Xavier Giné, Jessica Goldberg, and Dean Yang’s research explores the use of fingerprinting in Malawi as a method of repayment tracking and loan enforcement. Check out the study summary here.
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Ghana is home to one of IPA's largest country offices, managing a diverse set of research projects across agriculture, education, access to finance and health, and including a major scale-up initiative in partnership with the Ministry of Education.
Sadly there was no randomized evaluation, so we can't be sure. But there are good reasons to believe that Malawi's national fertilizer subsidy scheme has been successful in increasing agricultural production.