Media Coverage
October 23, 2015

For many residents, mechanized removal of waste, which costs more than double the price of manual emptying, is too expensive in a country where most people scrape by on less than $3 a day.

In one of the first projects of its kind in Africa, Senegal's government and charitable organizations are installing new toilets that turn waste into compost or break down matter with worms in a bid to lower health risks.

Media Coverage
October 17, 2015

On a stormy day in Dakar, Tina Gomis, a local woman in Sicap Mbao, laughs at the idea of selling her own excrement to the government. But this may soon become a reality in a city with a reputation for terrible waste management.

A pioneering SMS service and waste treatment system is dramatically bringing down sanitation costs in Senegal’s capital and, if successful, may even lead to customers making a small profit from their ordure instead of paying someone to take it away.

Dean Karlan
October 13, 2015


On Friday IPA founder and Yale economist Dean Karlan testified in front of a subcommittee of the US House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services, alongside Martin Ravallion of Georgetown University,  Patrick Chovanec of the Silvercrest Asset Management Group, and Scott Morris, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development. The hearing was about the future of multilateral investment banks (organizations such as the World Bank), but touched on many issues in how governments and large donors view development.

In his testimony (PDF of the expanded writtern...
Media Coverage
June 19, 2015

The Wall Street Journal Weekend Review section had front page feature on Innovations for Poverty Action and randomized controlled trials called "The Anti-Poverty Experiment." It explains how IPA approaches evidence-baesd policy through rigorous evaluations, and how the approach has changed the field, featuring perspective from Dean Karlan, Esther Duflo, Richard Thaler and others. The story also explains how behavioral economics is being integrated into anti-poverty programs and looks at several of them. It was also featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy and Real Clear Politics. An...

Media Coverage
April 23, 2015

A new IPA study published in Science tested the effectiveness of a popular sanitation education/promotion program in Bangladesh. The program, in use in 60 countries, had no effect alone but did when combined with subsidies to build latrines.  Read more in the announcement here, the project summary here, and summary from Science here. Additional coverage from Voice of America, Ars Technica, Science 2.0, Science Codex, Medical News Today, and Medical Xpress.

Media Coverage
April 21, 2015

Research published in Science Magazine last week shows that providing subsidies for the construction of latrines in northwest Bangladesh was more effective than information and motivation programs. Putting the two together produced even better results.

Use of hygienic latrines increased by 22 percent among people who received both subsidies and motivation programs, found Raymond Guiteras of University of Maryland and James Levinsohn and Mushfiq Mobarak of Yale University. The findings address some concerns that providing subsidies for products can erode motivation to use them.

Press Release
April 16, 2015

April 16, 2015, NEW HAVEN, CT – With poor sanitation estimated to cause 280,000 deaths per year worldwide, improving sanitation is a key policy goal in many developing countries. Yet governments and major development institutions disagree over how to address the problem. A new study released in Science today found that in Bangladesh, a community-motivation model that has been used in over 60 countries to increase use of hygienic latrines had no effect, yet latrine coverage expands substantially when that model is combined with subsidies for hygienic latrines targeted to the poor. 


Media Coverage
February 06, 2015

The development news site DevEx discusses rebuilding West African economies after Ebola, referencing IPA's work studying the disease's economic impact. Read more about IPA's work to support the response to Ebola here, and more on the crucial role of good data in crisis reponse by IPA researchers in the New York Times here.

Media Coverage
January 30, 2015

In the New York Times, IPA researchers Rachel Glennerster and Tavneet Suri of MIT, and Herbert M'Cleod of the International Growth Centre write about the critical role of good data in fighting Ebola. They compare the numbers found by IPA and other researchers with the misinformaiton often repeated by government officials or media. Glennerster adds a piece cut from the op-ed on her blog, about the agriculture crisis that wasn't, where IPA's data showed food price stability, in contrast with popular reports.

Nava Ashraf, Lori Beaman, Ariel BenYishay, Pascaline Dupas, Paul Fatch, Xavier Giné, Alaka Holla, Dean Karlan, Jeanne Lafortune, Jeremy Magruder, Margaret McConnell, Mushfiq Mobarak, Sendhil Mullainathan, Jonathan Robinson, Renos Vakis, Wesley Yin, Jonathan Zinman
December 10, 2014

  Development policy should be redesigned to reflect new insights about human behavior, according to a new World Bank report. The report calls on the development community to shift its agenda based on new insights in behavioral economics, and supports this proposal with findings from numerous IPA evaluations, including our work on commitment devices, reminders, and peer networks.   “Development economics and policy are due for a redesign,” according to World Development Report 2015: Mind, Society, and Behavior. “Whereas the first generation of development policy was based on the assumption...
Katherine Casey, Rachel Glennerster, Kristen Himelein, Tavneet Suri
November 24, 2014

Since first appearing in March 2014 in rural Guinea, the Ebola virus has infected at least 17,800 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and killed more than 6,300, according to figures from the Center for Disease Control from early December 2014.1 To ensure the safety of our team on the ground, IPA has suspended all non-Ebola studies and operations in the region. We are now pursuing new studies that simultaneously address the Ebola crisis, capitalize on our strong local presence, and ensure the safety of our staff.

"The priority right now is getting information into the hands...

Media Coverage
November 03, 2014

Fox News reported on IPA's study using text messages to remind patients to take their medication. You can find the story here (note the country in which the study took place is Ghana, not Guinea). More information on the study is here, with a follow-up blog post reporting on qualitative findings here.

Günther Fink, Julia Goldberg Raifman
November 03, 2014

  Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Heather Lanthorn, a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Public Health, who worked on the SMS reminders for malaria study. After the data collection was complete, she conducted a qualitative follow-up which she explains below.     Most development interventions are carried out and delivered by local research staff and residents. Such implementation is rarely a straightforward ‘technical’ operation but, rather, there is social and political nuance in translating an idea into practice. On-the-ground partners therefore often have important insights...
Media Coverage
October 30, 2014

  New York Magazine's Science of Us column features IPA's new evaluation of text message reminders for malaria patients in Ghana. The piece highlights one of the interesting parts of the study, helping people to stick to intentions when it comes to health behavior, a notoriously difficult problem in public health. You can read the piece on New York Magazine's site here, see the announcement on IPA's site here, and find a summary of the full study here.
Press Release
October 28, 2014

New study shows text messaging could be useful tool in fight against malaria   New Haven, CT,  Oct. 28 2014 - Each year, malaria kills over 600,000 people, more than half of them children. In a study published today in PLOS ONE (summary here and full study here), researchers with the non-profit Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and Harvard University found that simple text message reminders to take malaria medication can help in the fight against the disease by boosting the rates at which patients complete their medication regimen.   One challenge in fighting malaria is that the disease...