How do we attract high quality citizens to run for public office? How do we nudge good politicians? To test a mechanism for incentivizing good candidates to run for public office, researchers will screen aspiring young politicians in the Philippines and offer them incentives. Afterwards, they will track their decision to run for public office.
Starting the summer of 2014, many risk factors pointed to a potential food crisis in areas of West Africa hit hardest by the Ebola outbreak. Innovations for Poverty Action, in partnership with researchers and the International Growth Center, began monitoring markets across Sierra Leone for changes in food prices and supply. Researchers are now providing rapid feedback to the government and other development partners on where food shortages are occurring. With our partners, we are continuing to monitor food markets across Sierra Leone.
Very little evidence from behavioral economic research exists from low-income countries, as most such research has taken place in Western industrialized countries. The World Bank’s 2015 World Development Report: Mind and Society focuses on psychological, social, and cultural influences on development, requiring the collection and analysis of data on psychological biases in non-industrialized countries. IPA was responsible for data collection for the report in Peru.
In the last two decades, large numbers of Mongolian herders have migrated to the outskirts of the country’s major cities, which has led to conflicts over land and overgrazing of common pastureland. Herders may change their herding practices to better sustain the land if they own rights to it, which could also translate into bigger and healthier animals, and more income for the herders. In this study, carried out near two cities in Mongolia, researchers evaluated the impact of private property rights on land use and herder income.
Many post-conflict countries suffer from high rates of crime, violence, and unrest. Early warning systems, if viable, would help police and peacekeepers anticipate violence before it happens. But is it possible to predict where violence will occur? In response to this question, researchers built a statistical model based on data IPA gathered over four years in the most conflict-prone areas of Liberia. The model correctly predicted 88 percent of violence two years into the future, albeit at the expense of many incorrect predictions that violence would occur. The study also found that of 56 potential risk factors, only a handful consistently predicted violence over time—especially ethnic diversity and polarization. The study should be replicated to determine whether these results generalize beyond these communities and time periods.
Student learning levels across East Africa remain extremely low, despite more than a decade of major reforms and significant new investments in public education. To help generate rigorous evidence on what works, researchers are evaluating the impact of an education intervention that sends grants directly to schools and pays teachers a performance-based bonus.