Soumaya Keynes of The Economist and Chad P. Bown of the Petersen Institute for International Economics speak with Colombia University Business School professor Amit Khandelwal on research through IPA’s Small and Medium Enterprises initiative on export markets. He explains that trade can be difficult to randomize and explains how they managed to do it for Egyptian carpet manufacturers to see how firms evolve to meet new demand. Read more about the study here.
Quartz discusses how a business plan competition in Nigeria evaluated by IPA with the World Bank's David McKenzie gave $100 million to over 3,000 entrepreneurs between 2012 and 2015. The program's success points to promising evidence for spurring economic growth, and is being copied in Kenya and elsewhere. You can hear a full episode of the NPR podcast Planet Money, explaining how the program in Nigeria worked, here.
In December, IPA Bangladesh and the Access to Information (a2i) Program of the Prime Minister's Office co-hosted an Evidence Dialogue on SME Development in Bangladesh. The event was widely covered by the Bangladesh media. The Daily Sun summarized the discussions at the event:
The speakers noted that effective research on SME development can play a vital role in Bangladesh's economic development and poverty alleviation. Expansion of SMEs would contribute to Bangladesh's efforts to become a middle-income country by 2021 through creating new jobs, they observed.
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IPA researchers Jonathan Morduch and Christopher Woodruff discuss their study results on mobile financial services and obstacles to hiring female garment workers to supervisory roles in Bangladesh.
The Financial Express of Bangladesh reports on a recent conference co-organized by IPA where researcher Christopher Woodruff presented findigns from his study on female managers in the garment industry. As part of his presentation, Woodruff identified three obstacles to women being promoted: lower levels of self-confidence in female candidates; resistance from others - especially males; and ambivalent attitudes of higher-level managers to promote women to supervisory roles.
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.”
The U.S. News & World Report discusses IPA's behavioral science research and RCT studies that are being conducted throughout Kenya. From the article:
Thanks to IPA and outfits like it, the next frontier for nudge theory is being developed in the developing world itself. The epicenter is Kenya – a country with relatively robust infrastructure that serves as a regional hub for international agencies and technology start-ups.
IPA Founder and President Dean Karlan headlined the cover of the Seychelle's Nation Newspaper, speaking at a conference about SME's role in development.
They don’t call economics the dismal science for nothing. A study of Ethiopian workers released last week by the US National Bureau of Economics Research found low-wage factories—often known as sweatshops— were dangerous, undesirable and paid even less than self-employment in the informal sector. But, the researchers concluded, countries were still better off than not having those jobs at all.
In the past several decades, manufacturing jobs have fled the developed world for the developing world. Obviously, that’s profoundly reshaped the economies of developing countries like China and Bangladesh. But what does that mean for the ordinary people who are doing the work — often for incredibly low wages?
New Haven, September 26, 2016 - A new study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research today looked at the impacts of taking a factory or industrial farm job on young workers in Ethiopia, and found that these industrial jobs gave unemployed people a steady income, but this came with substantial risks to their health.
Comparing job applicants who did and did not receive the job, researchers found that those offered industrial jobs did no better economically, and the industrial work came with longer hours, lower wages, and a doubling of serious health...
SME Program Director, Lucia Sanchez, is interviewed by Argentina's Infotechnology, where she discusses the use of Randomized Controlled Trials for the design of effective social programs.
IPA Executive Director Annie Duflo was interviewed by Colombia's business and economics daily Portafolio, where she discussed IPA's work on microcredit, unconditional cash transfers, and small and medium enterprises there.
NPR's Planet Money podcast featured a full episode on an IPA's study which randomized a national competition in Nigeria giving away $58 million dollars to aspiring entrepreneurs. They speak with study author David McKenzie of the World Bank, IPA researcher Chris Blattman of Columbia University, and the former Finance Minister of Nigeria about the unexpected success of the program, and what was learned for bolstering economic growth and hiring. An article accompanying the story appeared on NPR's international health development blog here.