Improving adolescents’ access to information about safe sex practices is crucial for safeguarding the health of future generations. In Ghana, Innovations for Poverty Action and researchers evaluated the impact of a program that provided young women with information on reproductive health via text messages. The study found that the program improved young women’s knowledge about contraception, sexually transmitted infections, and other reproductive health topics.
Small business growth is crucial for helping the poor improve their livelihoods, but expensive and inflexible financial products restrict business owners’ access to credit and constrain profits. Innovations for Poverty Action is supporting research that examines whether new financial products can help Indian female market vendors pursue borrowing strategies tailored to their business needs, while building up a reserve of savings they can use to finance week-to-week inventory purchases.
The Graduation Approach, a model for holistic livelihoods programs, has been proven to have lasting impacts on poor families’ income, assets, food security, and mental health, but these programs can be expensive to implement.
Intimate partner violence is a pervasive health and human rights concern, but relatively little is known about how to reduce gender-based violence in conflict-affected settings. In Côte d’Ivoire, researchers evaluated the impact of an economic empowerment and gender dialogue program on domestic violence and gender norms.
Reducing child mortality is a high priority for many governments, but policymakers disagree about how to fund children’s healthcare. While charging fees may prevent poor families from accessing care, subsidizing care may lead to overuse and wasted resources. Innovations for Poverty Action worked with researchers to investigate the impact of subsidies and health worker visits on use of healthcare among young children in Mali.
Governments often implement a number of policies intended to support small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) to grow and expand. One such government tool is to use tax breaks to reward small and medium-sized firms for investing. While such investment tax credits are widely practiced, there is limited evidence on the effectiveness of these policies in promoting firm investment, employment, or growth.
Of the two billion people living on less than $2 per day, roughly half run a business. Finding effective approaches to enhance the productivity and performance of these businesses is considered key to economic growth in many developing economies.
Poor sanitation is estimated to cause 280,000 deaths per year, and may also contribute to serious long-term health conditions, despite the existence of simple, effective solutions.
The vast majority of the world’s poor save, yet they often do so informally even when research findings suggest that accessing savings accounts at formal institutions can help low-income households increase their savings, investments, and ultimately their income. Could temporary interest rate incentives increase formal account use among the poor?
A large theoretical literature suggests that public information can substitute for formal contract enforcement – businesses concerned about maintaining a good reputation will be more inclined to follow through on commitments. However, little is known about the extent to which reputation helps enforce informal business agreements in practice, or about the channels through which information of this type impacts trade.
Even though more people have a bank account than ever before, take-up remains low for other financial products and services that could help the poor finance large expenditures or manage risk in their lives.
While performance pay for tax collectors has the potential to raise tax revenues, there is concern that it may also increase the bargaining power of tax collectors with respect to taxpayers, leading to greater taxpayer dissatisfaction. To examine these issues, researchers conducted a randomized evaluation of three different performance-based schemes in Punjab, Pakistan.
Recent research suggests that droughts and other natural disasters may impact farmers’ cognition as well as their agricultural income. As water becomes scarcer and the risk of a poor harvest increases, the stress of coping with a drought may cause farmers to perform worse on other mental tasks. In Brazil, researchers examined whether rainfall scarcity affected performance on cognitive tasks, and if so, whether offering rainfall insurance could help alleviate this stress.
For agricultural workers without access to bank accounts, saving during the main farming season to be able to afford durable goods or buy necessities in the off-season is difficult, but important. Without the option to save their wages, workers may even choose to work less, feeling that working will not help them reach important goals.
For small and medium firms everywhere, the lack of access to buyers can often mean higher transaction and input costs and few incentives to improve efficiency. Governments, however, have strong buying power and increased government purchasing from these firms may help with this constraint. This study uses procurement auctions by Brazil’s federal government to test if the added demand from government improved the performance of winning firms.
Some research suggests that religious practice and belief can lead to better physical health, mental health, and higher wages, among other positive measures of wellbeing. However, there is currently a lack of rigorous evidence on whether religious practice and belief can improve the lives of the poor.
Microenterprises make up a large portion of employment in the developing world but little is known about constraints on their growth. Researchers partnered with the consulting firm Ernst & Young to test whether providing tailors in Accra with individualized consulting, a sizable cash grant, or both can facilitate growth.
Weak accountability in health systems often results in low-quality health service delivery and contributes to poor health outcomes. In Uganda, researchers are evaluating and unpacking a program closely based on a previously evaluated intervention found to greatly improve child health.
Over a billion people worldwide, most of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa, lack electricity, and mainly rely on kerosene lanterns for light. Recently, prices for solar lanterns have been dropping and they may help supply clean, affordable lighting and phone charging to those who are not connected to the electric grid. Yet little rigorous evidence is available on how this new technology is being adopted and used and how it affects people’s lives.
Helping microenterprises grow can provide livelihoods and drive economic growth in developing countries, but research on using loans to spur small business growth has generally found these to be unable to help microenterprises expand.