The IPA Blog


Kiva Lenders Have Needs, Too

Oct 15/09 | From the blog
by Abby Gray

Meet Jacques.  He’s the Kiva Coordinator at WAGES, a microfinance institution (MFI) based in Togo, West Africa.  Every day, a loan officer hand-delivers a stack of borrower information forms and a USB chip full of photos.  Jacques has trained the officers how to fill out the forms, use digital cameras, and get borrowers to smile and display their merchandise proudly for pictures. 

Evidence-based controversy, revisited

Oct 13/09 | From the blog
by Meredith Startz

In round two of Lisbeth Schorr versus evidence-based policy (see round 1 here), she writes in the Chronicle of Philanthropy that,

If government agencies and private grant makers, afraid of being considered not rigorous, unscientific, or wasteful, choose to support only those efforts that meet the randomized-trial test, we will be robbed of:

* Good programs that do not lend themselves to random-assignment evaluations.

IPA expands its brand in Ndaragwa

Oct 11/09 | From the blog
by Kerry Brennan

Because of the especially sensitive nature of doing research with human subjects, all of IPA's projects must be approved by an Internal Review Board.  The board makes recommendations for how to ensure that the project environment is as respectful as possible to the rights of study participants.  One of their requirements is providing survey participants with IPA contact information so that they can ask questions and voice concerns after they have completed the survey. 

Moving beyond the helicopter test

Oct 08/09 | 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 29/09 | 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 27/09 | 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 16/09 | 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 10/09 | 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 08/09 | 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 08/09 | 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.

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