How large economic stimuli generate individual and aggregate responses is a central question in economics, but has not been studied experimentally. We provided one-time cash transfers of about USD 1000 to over 10,500 poor households across 653 randomized villages in rural Kenya. The implied fiscal shock was over 15 percent of local GDP. We find large impacts on consumption and assets for recipients. Importantly, we document large positive spillovers on non-recipient households and firms, and minimal price inflation. We estimate a local fiscal multiplier of 2.7. We interpret welfare implications through the lens of a simple household optimization framework.

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Working Paper
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December 19, 2020
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Globally, access to good quality abortion services and post-abortion care is a critical determinant for women’s survival after unsafe abortion. Unsafe abortions account for high levels of maternal death in Kenya. We explored women’s experiences and perceptions of their abortion and post-abortion care experiences in Kenya through person-centred care. This qualitative study included focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with women aged 18-35 who received safe abortion services at private clinics. Through thematic analyses of women’s testimonies, we identified gaps in the abortion care and person-centred domains which seemed to be important throughout the abortion process. When women received clear communication and personalised comprehensive information on abortion and post-abortion care from their healthcare providers, they reported more positive experiences overall and higher reproductive autonomy. Communication and supportive care were particularly valued during the post-abortion period, as was social support more generally. Further research is needed to design, implement and test the feasibility and acceptability of person-centred abortion care interventions in community and clinical settings with the goal of improving women’s abortion experiences and overall reproductive health outcomes.

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February 27, 2020
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Context: A growing body of evidence indicates that nonclinical health care facility staff provide support beyond their traditional roles, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. It is important to examine the role of health facility cleaners in Kenya—from their perspective—to better understand their actual and perceived responsibilities in maternity care.

Methods: In-depth, face-to-face interviews using a semistructured guide were conducted with 14 cleaners working at three public health facilities in Nairobi and Kiambu Counties, Kenya, in August and September 2016. Results were coded and categorized using a thematic content analysis approach.

Results: Cleaners reported performing a range of services beyond typical maintenance responsibilities, including providing emotional, informational and instrumental support to maternity patients. They described feeling disrespected when patients were untidy or experienced bleeding; however, such examples revealed cleaners' need to better understand labor and childbirth processes. Cleaners also indicated a desire for training on interpersonal skills to improve their interactions with patients.

Conclusion: Cleaners' direct involvement in maternity patients' care is an alarming symptom of overburdened health facilities, insufficient staffing and inadequate training. This key yet overlooked cadre of health care staff deserves appropriate support and further research to understand and alleviate health system shortcomings, and to improve the quality of maternity health care provision.

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February 12, 2020
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Global efforts are underway to improve education quality—to ensure children are not only in school but learning and developing to their full potential. Although many theories exist on the best approaches to improve education quality, policymakers and implementers need evidence on which programs are effective at helping children actually learn while in school. Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy nonprofit that discovers and advances what works to reduce poverty and improve lives. In addition to conducting rigorous research, IPA reviews and consolidates research for policymakers and practitioners. The objective is to distill complex, nuanced, and dynamic research findings into focused and actionable recommendations. This brief summarizes and provides key lessons from multiple meta-analyses and over two-dozen randomized evaluations (both IPA and non-IPA studies) on improving learning outcomes in low-income countries, with a focus on basic education. 

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Brief
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December 17, 2019
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Little evidence exists on women’s experiences of care during abortion care, partly due to limitations in existing measures. Moreover, globally, the development and rapid growth in the availability of medication abortions (MA) has radically changed the options for safe abortions for women. It is therefore important to understand how women’s experiences of care may differ across medication and manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) abortions. This study uses a validated person-centered abortion care scale (categorized as low, medium, and high levels, with high levels representing the greatest level of person-centered care) to assess women’s experiences of care undergoing medication abortions vs. MVA. This paper reports on a cross-sectional study of 353 women undergoing abortions at one of six family planning clinics in Nairobi County, Kenya in 2018. Comparing abortion types, we found that the MVA sample was more likely to report “high” levels of person-centered abortion care compared to the MA sample (36.3% vs. 23.0%, p = 0.005). No differences were detected with respect to Respectful and Supportive Care; however, the MVA sample was significantly more likely to report “high” levels of Communication and Autonomy compared to the MA sample (23.6% vs. 11.2%, p<0.0001). In multivariable ordered logistic regression, we found that the MVA sample had a 92% greater likelihood of reporting higher person-centered abortion care scores compared to MA clients (aOR1.92, CI: 1.17–3.17). Being employed and reporting higher self-rated health were associated with higher person-centered abortion care scores, while reporting higher levels of stigma were associated with lower person-centered abortion care scores. Our findings suggest that more efforts are needed to improve the domain of Communication and Autonomy, particularly for MA clients.

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November 25, 2019
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Objective: Despite the recognized importance of person-centered care, very little information exists on how person-centered maternity care (PCMC) impacts newborn health.

Methods: Baseline and follow-up data were collected from women who delivered in government health facilities in Nairobi and Kiambu counties in Kenya between August 2016 and February 2017. The final analytic sample included 413 respondents who completed the baseline survey and at least one follow-up survey at 2, 6, 8, and/or 10 weeks. Data were analyzed using descriptive, bivariate, and multivariate statistics. Logistic regression was used to assess the relationship between PCMC scores and outcomes of interest.

Results: In multivariate analyses, women with high PCMC scores were significantly less likely to report newborn complications than women with low PCMC scores (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0.39, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.16–0.98). Women reporting high PCMC scores also had significantly higher odds of reporting a willingness to return to the facility for their next delivery than women with low PCMC score (aOR 12.72, 95% CI 2.26–71.63). The domains of Respect/Dignity and Supportive Care were associated with fewer newborn complications and willingness to return to a facility.

Conclusion: PCMC could improve not just the experience of the mother during childbirth, but also the health of her newborn and future health-seeking behavior.

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September 20, 2019

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