News and Announcements
- Jun 18/12 | Announcement |
Innovations for Poverty Action and the Citi Foundation announced today the creation of the Citi - IPA Financial Capability Research Fund. The $3.4 million program focusing on emerging economies seeks to incubate, develop, and rigorously study products and product-linked interventions to improve the poor’s financial capability.
The Citi-IPA Financial Capability Research Fund is supported by the Citi Foundation and will administer a competitive project solicitation process inviting expressions of interest from teams of practitioners and researchers seeking to test products and interventions aimed at improving the behavior of users of financial services.
- Jun 12/12 | From the newsroom |
We are pleased to announce our FOURTH ROUND of Research Funding for Entrepreneurship and SME Growth. The goal of the fund is to support innovative research to build a systemic body of evidence on the contribution of SMEs and entrepreneurship to poverty alleviation and economic development. We hope this competition will have a catalyzing effect to stimulate high quality research on the role of access to finance, human capital, and markets for SME growth and their contribution to development. Please see the Competitive Fund page for more information.
Dean Karlan spoke at the 2012 World Economic forum on East Asia in Bangkok about what works and doesn’t work in fighting poverty. In a wide-ranging conversation with Brian A. Gallagher, of United Way Worldwide, John McArthur, Senior Fellow, United Nations Foundation, Nadya Saib, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Wangsa Jelita in Indonesia, and Shinta Widjaja Kamdani, Managing Director of Sintesa Group, also of Indonesia, Dean cautioned about why we should beware of goals that are too ambitious, and pointed out why outcomes are sometimes different than what you might expect.
You can find video of the full event here.
A recent evaluation of Chile's supplier development program aimed at improving the linkages between small and medium enterprises and their larger customers showed that the program had positive impacts on the smaller firms, with firms increasing sales, employing more workers, and improving their survival capabilities, among other things.
An expert panel of 65 researchers has culminated with the Copenhagen Consensus 2012, a panel of economists including four Nobel laureates tasked with identifying the smartest ways to allocate money to respond to ten of the world’s biggest challenges. Deworming is ranked fourth in their list of 16 smarters ways to allocate money. An excerpt:
Nobel laureate economist Robert Mundell said: “Deworming is an overlooked intervention deserving of greater attention and resources. This simple, cheap investment can mean a child is healthier and spends more time in school.”
Niranjan Rajadhyaksha encourages Indians to give but to make sure their giving counts. He uses IPA research to point out why it's all about how you ask and goes on to explain why causes like deworming are among the most effective charities to spend your giving budget. An excerpt:
The experiment was conducted by Dean Karlan of Yale University and John List of The University of Chicago. Here’s what they did: They sent letters seeking donations for a charity focused on poverty reduction to two sets of people— those who had previously donated to the charity and those who had not. One set of letters told potential donors that their contribution would be matched by a similar sum by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation while another set of letters made no mention of such a matching grant.
The result from both groups was basically the same. Those who were told about the matching grant from the Gates foundation tended to give more. Charities seeking donations usually reach out to people who do not have credible information about its activities. I am sure several of us face this problem; we feel strongly about a particular issue but do not know enough about the people who approach us for money. What the promise of a matching grant did in the experiment conducted by Karlan and List is that it gave potential donors a credible signal that even the Gates foundation had confidence in the charity.
The Christian Science Monitor profiles the work of our partner, J-PAL, as well as some IPA projects, as they point out that perhaps Americans and Europeans who are stressed at the prospects of job growth might have something to learn from the evaluations of what works for the poor around the world. An excerpt:
In both America and Europe, people are pessimistic about the ability of politicians to spur job growth. Traditional economic theories – either left or right – are failing as millions of people face years of being without work or underemployed. And as the stress of daily living rises, the jobless often make poor choices, such as not reeducating themselves.
Is there a solution to this gloom?https://poverty-action.org/node/add/story
Perhaps one lies in a hot new approach being tried in the world’s poorest countries, where people living under long-term poverty may have something to teach those in wealthy countries.
A group of behavioral economists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and elsewhere are challenging traditional antipoverty policy by conducting experiments in slums and villages to show which competing ideas of development actually work, much like randomized testing in the pharmaceutical industry. They try to avoid generalizing their results, knowing that simplistic ideas are not always easy to replicate, even in the next village.
The history of antipoverty policy, state MIT economists Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, “is littered with the detritus of instant miracles that proved less than miraculous.”
Yet if they have one overarching conclusion, it is this: The poor often stay poor because of the stress of daily survival; but given enough hope of a better future, they respond like everyone else.
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