English

An observed positive relationship between compensation and productivity cannot distinguish between two channels: (1) an incentive effect and (2) worker selection. We use a simplified Becker-DeGroot-Marschak mechanism, which provides random variation in piece rates conditional on revealed reservation rates, to separately identify the two channels in the context of casual labor markets in rural Malawi. A higher piece rate increases output in our setting, but does not attract more productive workers. Among men, the average worker recruited at higher piece rates is actually less productive. Local labor market imperfections appear to undermine the worker sorting observed in well-functioning labor markets.

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Working Paper
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January 01, 2014
English

Can volunteer farmers effectively communicate information about conservation farming and nutrient management to other farmers? Does the social position and gender of these farmers affect their success in disseminating this knowledge?

This evaluation studies the effects of new ways to disseminate knowledge of conservation farming and nutrient management practices via the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MoAFS) extension staff. We observe that volunteer farmers trained by MoAFS extension workers can effectively disseminate knowledge of conservation farming and nutrient management techniques to others in their villages. The largest gains in knowledge and usage took place when these communicators were similar to the average village member and where the communicators were offered moderate, in-kind rewards for good performance.

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Brief
Date:
December 01, 2013
English

In 2013 IPA celebrated ten years of producing high-quality evidence about what works, and what does not work, to improve the lives of the poor. It was a year of celebration for our accomplishments. More so, it was a time to prepare our organization for the next phase as we continue to pursue our vision of a world with More Evidence and Less Poverty.

 

View an online version of the report at annualreport.poverty-action.org/2013annualreport/

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Annual Report
Date:
September 01, 2013
English
Low adoption of productive agricultural technologies is a puzzle. Agricultural extension services rely on external agents to communicate with farmers, although social networks are known to be the most credible source of information about new technologies. We conduct a large-scale field experiment on communication strategies in which extension workers are partnered with different members of social networks. We show that communicator actions and effort are susceptible to small performance incentives, and adoption rates vary by communicator type. Communicators who face conditions most comparable to target farmers are the most persuasive. Incorporating communication dynamics can enrich the literature on social learning. 
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Working Paper
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August 30, 2013
English

Efficient targeting of public programs is difficult when the cost or bene!t to potential recipients is private information. This study illustrates the potential of self-selection to improve allocational outcomes in the context of a program that subsidizes tree planting in Malawi. Landholders who received a tree planting contract as a result of bidding in an auction kept significantly more trees alive over a three year period than did landholders who received the contract through a lottery. The gains from targeting on private information through the auction represent a 30 percent cost savings per surviving tree for the implementing organization.

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Working Paper
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May 03, 2013
English

An individual who takes an HIV test can be informed about their own status and risk. Similarly, when friends, family or neighbors learn of a person's HIV status, they may update their beliefs about HIV infection among people they know. Using an experiment conducted in rural Malawi which randomly assigned incentives to learn HIV results, we find that as people in the community learn their HIV results, individuals revise their beliefs downward about deaths attributable to HIV/AIDS. We find corresponding behavioral responses with a significant decrease in condom use and no significant increase in multiple partnerships among those who are HIV-negative.

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Published Paper
Date:
May 01, 2013

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