The IPA Blog


When a charitable cause has an image problem...

Mar 31/10 | From the blog
by Kerry Brennan

Images of adorable children in developing countries are so often used to build sympathy and support for international NGOs that photos of smiling African children have become a near prerequisite for hoping to raise any money from donors.  Obviously, this blog post isn't the first to point out the resulting issues brought up by this reliance on images of children (be they actual beneficiaries or merely representative of the population served).  Programs ranging from World Vision's child sponsorship to Kiva's fundraising model have relied on images of sympathetic individuals to ra


Mar 25/10 | From the blog


We at IPA have recently been delving into the world of online advertising to help us spread the gospel of rigorous impact research.  Being who we are, we could not resist this opportunity to run a field experiment.  We designed one that would help us optimize our advertising strategy while also settling an important score: which academic institution's rep pulls the most weight in cyberspace? Our ad was simple:

Poverty Research

Breakthroughs to Fight Poverty

By [randomized] Researchers

First insights from Mongolian microfinance impact study

Mar 01/10 | From the blog
by Kerry Brennan

The blog over at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) recently featured a post by Senior Economist Ralph De Haas, who describes a randomized evaluation of microfinance in Mongolia that recently completed fieldwork.  Although analysis is ongoing, with full results expected in July o

Rocking the resident non-citizen vote in Bolivia

Feb 17/10 | From the blog
by Martin Rotemberg

Where do resident non-citizens get to vote?

The Bolivian government recently decided that all foreigners who have lived in the country for at least two years can vote in the upcoming elections (actually, they have to vote, otherwise they can't do any bank transactions or leave the country for a month or so after the election). Is this something that other countries do?

An Anti-Nudge on the Way to Mexico

Jan 27/10 | From the blog

IPA President Dean Karlan guest posts on the Nudge blog to share a story about how an "anti-nudge" in his rental car almost side-tracked a trip to visit the Microcredit Impact Study in Northern Mexico...



What could you live without?

Jan 24/10 | From the blog
by Dean Karlan

Kristof (again!) has a nice blog post about the tradeoff between consuming things we think we want, at the expense of not giving to charities to help people who struggle for basic needs.  Very much like Peter Singer's famous lake analog

The next impact test for microfinance

Dec 31/09 | From the blog
by Dean Karlan

Nice article today by Kristof in the New York Times.

IPA Researchers in Superfreakonomics

Dec 09/09 | From the blog
by Kerry Brennan

Research on charitable giving by IPA President Dean Karlan and Research Affiliate John List is mentioned in Ian Ayres' review of the new Superfreakonomics

Change for Sale

Dec 08/09 | From the blog
by Ryan Knight

No, this isn't a blog about health care, or even reforming financial regulation. This blog is literally about change that is for sale.

Microfinance "Graduation" pilots are graduating

Nov 30/09 | From the blog
by Nathanael Goldberg

It’s no secret few MFIs have had much success mobilizing the “poorest of the poor” into their programs.  This failure has remained a persistent irritant in an otherwise phenomenally successful industry.

Microfinance advocates have generally taken one of two approaches to the problem:

1) Press on with the spectacular growth approach, increasing financial access (a good thing) but doing little to help the very poor; or

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