IPA Research on Cash Benchmarking in Rwanda Featured in the New York Times

In the New York Times Fixes Column, Marc Gunther writes about an IPA study on cash benchmarking in Rwanda. The study compared how a standard WASH and nutrition program compares to just giving people cash, measuring impacts on indicators of poverty and malnutrition. While that column was released before the results were out, you can read Gunther’s reflections on the implications of the results on his blog, here.

IPA Research on Values Training Featured in the New York Times

In an op-ed in the New York Times, David Leonhardt discusses the findings of IPA's evaluation of a Christian business training program in the Philippines. Leonhardt explores the results' implications with project researcher and IPA founder Dean Karlan, who concludes that the "findings are 'cautiously positive' for the power of religion." 

The evaluation found that a program that combined health and livelihood training with sessions on religious values improved participants' incomes while a health and livelihood training alone did not. However, the religious program decreased participants' self-perception of their relative economic wellbeing. Read our full summary of the evaluation here. 

Do Factory Jobs Lift Workers Out of Poverty?

Chris Blattman and Stefan Dercon wrote an op-ed in The New York Times about the unexpected results from a study we worked on with them in Ethiopia. Together, we tested the conventional wisdom about how factory jobs help bring workers out of poverty, but as they explain: “Little did we anticipate that everything we believed would turn out to be wrong.”

Leading image: 
Garment Factory workers.jpg

Smart African Politics: Candidates Debating Under a Tree

Political debates are good even when they’re bad. Even when candidates are cringe-worthy, they’re cringe-worthy in public view. And voters learn about all the candidates, not just new ones. In the United States, for example, Hillary Clinton has been center stage in political life for 24 years. Donald Trump is the very definition of “overexposed.” Still, the debates tell us new things about them — their positions, temperament, grace under pressure (or lack thereof), charisma and political skill.

How much more could voters benefit from debates in countries where they know next to nothing about the candidates?

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