Rural to urban migration is an integral component of economic development, but there is limited evidence on the decision to migrate and little evidence on how emigration affects rural labor markets.

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Forcibly displaced people often live in overcrowded camps in countries with struggling health systems, making this population highly vulnerable to COVID‐19. In the Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh, where large numbers of Rohingya refugees have settled in recent years after fleeing Myanmar, researchers worked with IPA to administer a phone-based survey to households in both refugee camps and nearby host communities.

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Digitizing government cash transfers may boost usage of formal financial services among vulnerable households and women’s economic empowerment, but poor delivery of these digital transfers could increase the risks that beneficiaries face.

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Cox's Bazar intervention

Despite the scale and persistence of forced displacement, little data and evidence exists to inform long-term policy responses. The arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees in southern Bangladesh beginning in August 2017 poses a significant policy question: how to integrate refugees into the host economy while simultaneously maintaining or improving the wellbeing of nationals.

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Improving tax administration is an important priority for many developing country governments. An efficient and equitable tax system can increase government revenue, lessen dependence on foreign aid, and strengthen state authority. Researchers studied the impact of an innovative taxpayer recognition program that appealed to business owners’ desires for social recognition on firms’ VAT tax compliance and payment rates in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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The garment industry has expanded women’s employment opportunities in the urban job market in Bangladesh. However, jobs available to women at factories are typically limited to junior positions. This study evaluates the effectiveness of a program that provides female garment workers with skills that lead to promotion to supervisory positions.

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Child marriage is correlated with negative health and education outcomes around the world. Researchers evaluated the impacts of a conditional incentive program and an adolescent empowerment program on adolescent marriage, teenage childbearing, and education in rural Bangladesh. They found that offering incentives conditional on delayed marriage was an effective way to reduce child marriage, reduce teenage childbearing, and increase education.

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The government of Bangladesh is trying to strengthen local justice systems in rural areas by establishing close-to-home, low-cost village courts that adjudicated minor disputes between residents. Innovations for Poverty Action is working with researchers to evaluate the impact of the village court system on access to and quality of justice as well as socioeconomic outcomes.

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Female entrepreneurs in developing countries often face significant stress from the combination of long working hours, family responsibilities and barriers to work that requires being away from home1,2. This randomized evaluation studied whether targeting women’s ability to cope with such daily stresses could help improve well-being and business outcomes.

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Seasonal hunger affects 300 million of the world’s rural poor. Seasonal migration can help some people find temporary employment, but many of those who could potentially benefit from migration face financial constraints that prevent them from traveling during the lean season. Researchers investigated whether providing low-cost travel incentives increases migration, and whether migrants experience better food security as a result of their travel.

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A crowded urban area in Bangladesh

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.

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A group of garment workers in Bangladesh

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.  Innovations for Poverty Action is working with researchers to evaluate the demand for a commitment savings product among garment workers, and evaluating whether employer influence and expected feedback to employers impacts sign-up decisions. 

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Poor sanitation is estimated to cause 280,000 deaths per year worldwide, despite the existence of simple, effective solutions. Governments and major development institutions have dedicated substantial resources and attention to improving sanitation in developing countries, but there has been little rigorous research on how best to increase sanitation coverage.

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There is little evidence to lend credence to or discredit the argument that development aid undermines political accountability. In Tanore district of Bangladesh, researchers tested the impact of providing external subsidies for sanitation projects on the behavior of local leaders and, subsequently, on constituents’ perception of their performance.

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Can employers help unbanked individuals enter the formal financial sector by offering their employees electronic wage payments? Researchers are working with a bank, a mobile money operator, and garment manufacturers to help answer this question. This study will randomly assign employees at select factories to either continue collecting their wages in cash, receive them as a mobile money payment, or as a direct deposit payment into a no-frills bank account.

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