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Moving beyond the helicopter test

Oct 09/09 | From the blog
by Delia Welsh

A recent Aid Watch blog post from guest blogger, Franck Wiebe (who also happens to be my former boss,) gives a very clear explanation why the “helicopter test” makes a lot of sense in weighing which assistance programs to fund.  He writes,

Evidence-based controversy

Sep 30/09 | From the blog
by Meredith Startz

The Obama administration – almost as geeked-out a bunch as us – is on board with rigorous evaluation of social policy. Peter Orzag, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, recently wrote that,

A new look at temptation

Sep 28/09 | From the blog
by Meredith Startz

Everywhere in the world, people both rich and poor struggle to save and invest for tomorrow rather than splurging on the things they want today. From text messaging reminders, to providing piggy banks, to giving away little motivational presents, IPA investigates ways to help people meet their financial goals and avoid temptation.

How to "win" at development

Sep 17/09 | From the blog
by Kerry Brennan

We just sent out our latest IPA newsletter (sign up to receive the next one here), which focuses on agriculture in the developing world.  While working on some of the newsletter content, I was reminded of an online game that a friend of mine directed me to several years ago, called Third World

When low-tech is highly successful

Sep 11/09 | From the blog
by Kerry Brennan

It is a difficult and not particularly fruitful debate when different sectors important to economic development are pitted against one another in the quest for donor attention. Lasting development progress usually encompasses many areas, and debates that fail to recognize this are often just distracting.   Some of the more interesting (and no less heated) debates are waged once a specific sector of focus or growth constraint has been identified.

What's the cost of a fair price?

Sep 09/09 | From the blog
by Martin Rotemberg

What's the cost of a fair price?

IPA's President, Dean Karlan, recently came to La Paz for a jam-packed day of meeting with all of our partners. Of course, at above 12,000 feet, La Paz isn't a good place to arrive just in time for an exhausting day with no lunch. Unsurprisingly, by 7pm we were suffering, so we struck out for the country director's house down in the suburbs, where there's more air.

Mysteries of grocery shopping in Cusco

Sep 09/09 | From the blog
by Kartik Akileswaran

I recently returned from a 3-week trip to Cusco, Peru to help out my fellow Project Associate who is based there. I live in Lima, so the trip to Cusco, a sizeable city in its own right but quite distinct from Lima's hustle and bustle, was a welcome respite. I most certainly enjoyed the sunny weather and the lack of noise pollution. However, being based in Lima, I have grown accustomed to the everyday conveniences that are typical of a big city. I was reminded of this point during a trip to the grocery store while I was in Cusco, albeit in a very peculiar way.

IPA partners win Social Performance Reporting Award

Aug 31/09 | From the blog

Microfinance institutions are often assumed to be socially oriented, but as the industry expands and more institutions enter, it becomes increasingly important to verify these claims.  Donors and social investors should require more than a mission statement and a few anecdotes to know whether an MFI is really reaching the poor.

The House on Mango Lane

Aug 31/09 | From the blog
by Ryan Knight

One of the hardest things about doing research on poverty can be finding people for follow-up visits, especially in urban areas like Accra, Ghana, where I work. As a rule Accra has no helpful signs, street names, or addresses. Directions are based on landmarks, whose defining feature is usually that it's something old -- the types of things that are obvious if you've lived there forever, but make no sense when you're new to the city. The resulting irony is that the most expensive thing about our research can be the time spent finding people to research.

Debunking the microfinance bubble

Aug 28/09 | From the blog
by Jonathan Morduch

Is there a “microfinance bubble”? The question recently hit the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

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