The IPA Blog


Impact Evaluations can pay dividends

May 14/10 | From the blog
by Alexandra Kobishyn

Of the many excellent notions Dean Karlan brought up during his USAID lecture last week, one had particular resonance.  Prof. Karlan expressed his wish that practitioners, who likely made up the majority of his audience at the USAID seminar, view impact evaluations (& RCTs) as investments rather than just accountability measures. 

All the research, 1/40 the size!

May 11/10 | From the blog
by Kerry Brennan

A while back, a study estimated the number of people who will ever read any given published academic paper.  The number was pretty low; it was somewhere just barely above the total number of editors plus their parents.  The finding seemed to confirm that the inescapable Ivory Tower stereotype was not too far off.  Appropriately, I didn't ever read the meta paper itself... anyone remember this gem?

Freedom from Hunger on Microfinance Impact

May 06/10 | From the blog
by Dean Karlan

Here's a nice article written by Chris Dunford and the gang at Freedom from Hunger.  Freedom from Hunger is certainly an organization that understands the value of rigorous evaluation.  They have worked with IPA in Benin,

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  • Esther Duflo for the win!

    Apr 23/10 | From the blog

    UPDATE from this morning's blog post about the John Bates Clark Medal:  Esther Duflo was announced as the winner of the prestigious award. Congratulations from all at IPA!

    WSJ blog post handicaps the Clark Medal

    Apr 23/10 | From the blog

    The John Bates Clark Medal is one of the most prestigious awards a young economist can win (some would say second only to the Nobel).   And in fact, it has a reputation as a "Baby Nobel" because of how many awardees have gone on to win that prize as well.

    Attention Program Implementers! 3ie issues call for programs to be evaluated

    Apr 19/10 | From the blog
    by Nathanael Goldberg

    3ie, the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation, has released a call for proposals for programs to be evaluated.  Unlike 3ie's Open Window, in which researchers submit evaluation proposals, this Policy Window is a call for government agencies and NGOs from developing countries to propose programs worth evaluating.  3ie will then issue RFPs to potential researchers for bids to evaluate the winning entries.

    Have you read our latest newsletter?

    Apr 12/10 | From the blog

    IPA just released its latest newsletter, which provides a well-timed summary of the results of the recent microcredit impact evaluations, as well as information that reminds us that there are many "impact" quest

    More debate on measuring the impact of microfinance

    Apr 09/10 | From the blog
    by Kerry Brennan

    The debate over the impact of access to microcredit continues, with a group of practitioners entering the fray with the publication of "Measuring the Impact of Microfinance: Our Perspective."  The release of this document, which is signed by Acción International, FINCA, Grameen Foundation, Opportunity International, Unitus, and Women´s World Banking, accompanies an

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  • 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

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