When young learners are performing below average in school, how can we close the learning gap? In this study, researchers partnered with Universidad Cayetano Heredia to design and evaluate the impact of a program aimed at helping low-performing students—mostly from low-income urban households—master basic skills in science.

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In Peru, a majority of children perform below their grade level in math. Researchers evaluated the impact of an innovative math skills program on kindergartners’ numeracy and ability to recognize shapes. Results showed that the program significantly improved math scores immediately after the program ended, but the impacts had mostly dissipated one year after the program ended.

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Systems of performance pay have become increasingly common in the public sector in the last decade in both developed and developing countries. Despite advances in these programs, there is great need to generate evidence on the effectiveness of performance pay systems and on how to optimize their design to suit the health sector. This impact evaluation aimed to assist Peru’s Ministry of Health in its development of a design for a pay for performance scheme.

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Students in Peru have historically ranked poorly in math and science in comparative tests across South America. The Peruvian government is seeking to test a new science curriculum which moves away from traditional rote memorization to hypothesis testing and inquiry. In two pilots in Lima Province, a random sample of classrooms’ teachers received training in a new style of teaching, and the classrooms were provided with hands-on materials to work with.
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We evaluate a novel microfinance model in which new customers need to gain sponsorship by an existing customer. We investigate how relationships between individuals and social networks impact repayment behaviour. This individual lending program screens clients and enforces good practices much in the same way as more traditional group lending does, but allows microcredit to be extended to those who might not qualify or be interested in a group liability loan.

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Microcredit is often offered in conjunction with financial education services to train clients through pre-existing infrastructure. In Peru, researchers attempted to evaluate the impact of a technology-based financial literacy program on microcredit clients’ financial behavior. However, low implementation levels led to a discontinuation of the evaluation.

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Growing evidence from psychology and behavioral economics research shows that behavior can be influenced by leveraging social norms and emotions. Researchers examined the effect of a series of informational messages on participation in a recycling program in Peru. The messages sought to elicit pressures such as social norms, peer comparison, conformity, authority, and the environmental or social benefits to increased participation.

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This research examines whether bank marketing and communication tools can help individuals save more and, in particular, switch from informal savings vehicles to formal sector methods (e.g., a bank account). In conjunction with Caja Municipal de Ica (CMI), IPA examines various methods of product design, beyond the financial incentive, of encouraging clients to complete their savings commitment.

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One of the most famous innovations of microfinance was the idea of “social collateral” – a way to guarantee the loans of people who have limited physical assets. However, it’s not clear that requiring group liability is actually a good thing. For instance, it can drastically raise the cost of a loan for a good client if she is forced to cover for other loans. Furthermore, it can force someone to guarantee people who take out much larger loans, which may prove to be impossible.

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Microfinance has generated worldwide enthusiasm as a potential answer to economic development and poverty reduction. But high default risk and unproductive use of loaned funds plagues many programs. Researchers worked in Peru to measure the marginal impact of adding business training to a group lending program. The results of this study found business training slightly improved business practices, but had no impact on key business outcomes such as revenue and profit.

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Poverty, lack of female empowerment, and lack of education are major risk factors for childhood illness worldwide. Microcredit clients randomized to an educational intervention showed greater knowledge about child health, but no differences in child health outcomes compared to controls.

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Can communicating beneficiary feedback to donors augment philanthropic gifts or improve the operations of charitable organizations?

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