December 30, 2015


We'd like to thank IPA's blog readers (as well as our Twitter and Facebook followers) for all the support this year. Here's a roundup of our most popular blog posts:

10. Making research useful, getting it used: A vision for Kenya

Heidi McAnnally-Linz reports back from the Evidence Summit conference in Kenya, and on a new memorandum of understanding signed between IPA and the Kenyan government. Both addressed the issue of getting good research turned into policy and practice, and she summarizes five tips for turning research into policy.

9. Cochrane’s incomplete and misleading summary of the evidence on deworming.

This post from 2012 made our top ten again, presumably in the context of discussion over the efficacy of deworming this year. This joint statement from IPA, J-PAL, and CEGA researchers and leadership addresses the exclusion of many studies from the Cochrane Collaboration's previous review of the evidence. Several researchers would later write to PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases this year making similar points in response to the group's latest review. This repeating issue ties into larger questions about what meets the bar for rigorous evidence, when studying real life problems in context.

8. Could you manage your finances without a bank account? 

Carmen Easterwood looks at why a fair share of American households don't have a bank account and explores why, in a world where bank branches seem ubiquitous, they might not want one.

7. What happens when a revolution breaks out during your study?

When looking at a published paper (or blog post), it can be easy to lose sight of what goes into a study. Nolwenn Gontard from our Burkina Faso office describes what happened during the popular uprising that ended the 27-year rule of President Compaoré, and what the uncertainty of everyday life (including at least one bullet coming through a roof) meant for those in the office.

6. Export, learn … profit: A new randomized evaluation

Sarah Craig and Ariela Alpert from IPA's Small and Medium Enterprise program report on new results for helping carpetmakers grow their business. While we often take small business growth as a natural part of the lifecycle, this is often not the case in low and middle income countries. The blog post summarizes a simple-sounding intervention that had outsized results.

5. This year's behavioral and development valentines, for your statistically significant other.

It's always our favorite time of the year when we can trade development-themed Valentine's messages with the likes of Tim Ogden and Bill Easterly. We do have to admit to simultaneously exchanging behavioral economics-themed ones with Ideas42 (it's not cheating, it's just another treatment arm). Relive the magic with this roundup of some of the better ones on this blog post.

4. Gates Foundation Grand Challenges in Financial Inclusion

The Gates Foundation's Konstantin Peric & Jake Kendall, in this guest post, announce the Foundations grand challenge for ideas on improving financial inclusing using mobile phones.

3. IPA founder Dean Karlan's message to Congress

The post recaps Karlan's testimony on the future of multilateral investments banks such as the World Bank, the value they bring to the field of development, and where the field is headed.

2. Deworming: An informed debate requires a careful look at the data.

Dean Karlan of Yale and IPA with Esther Duflo of MIT and J-PAL address controversy over an analysis which takes a different perspective on deworming evidence.

1. The Great IPA Holiday Travel Playlist.

This year we tried putting together some of our favorite fun podcasts about the world of development and economics for your listening pleasure. We're thrilled people seem to like it.

And honorable mention goes to Nate Barker of IPA's Ghana office for Explanation of p-hacking detection figure, a companion piece to one of our links of interest, explaining a method for detecting if researchers are selectively publishing results.  It was surprisingly popular for a statistical methodology post. Make sure to check out our links of interest every thursday or friday on Chris Blattman's Blog for more regular updates.

Thanks again for visiting our blog, and let us know what you'd like to see for 2016 in the comments below!