For the 2.5 billion people who live on less than $2 per day, shocks such as illness, crop failures, livestock deaths, farming-equipment breakdowns and even wedding or funeral expenses can be enough to tip them, their families, or even an entire community below the poverty line. A major challenge for international development efforts is determining which financial tools provide durable buffers against such setbacks.
While meeting this challenge is a clear priority for policy makers and donors, it is also a major profit opportunity for commercial players who can solve market failures...
Professor Ahmed Mushfiq Mubarak of Yale School of Management was recently interviewed by a leading Bangladeshi newspaper ‘The Daily Prothom-Alo’. In the interview, he was asked about his research projects, especially the seasonal migration project, and how it impacted farming families who face food insecurity for a period before the harvest (popularly known in Bangladesh as ‘Monga’). He also answered many additional questions regarding this study that the editorial board of the newspaper raised.
In response to a question on why seasonal migration to be incentivized when migration is...
Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak of Yale University, who has experimented with encouraging Bangladeshi farmers to migrate to cities during the lean season, thinks it unfair to compare carefully tested projects to others where the cost-benefit numbers are “essentially made up”. Binning reliable, low-scoring projects for untested high-scoring ones would be foolish. But if the upshot is more scrutiny for promising projects, the exercise is useful. And almost anything would be better than spending money on projects because their backers can tell a good story, or because they are supported by powerful...
In northern rural Bangladesh, the autumn lean season is the most difficult time of year, especially in Rangpur, where close to half of the 15.8 million residents live below the poverty line.
The landless poor in Rangpur primarily work as day laborers on neighboring farms. But in September, while waiting for crops to mature in the fields, there is no farm work to be done. Wages fall, and at the same time, food becomes scarce because harvest is still months away, so the price of rice goes up.
The double blow of low wages and high food prices means that households are forced to...
The multi-billion youth programmes by the government and the private sector have had little impact on growing their income, economic researchers argued yesterday.
The projects, whose roll out started in earnest in the last decade, have nonetheless improved their welfare through increased wages and new enterprises, the researchers said.
The implementation, they added, should be backed by research evidence to create sustainable job opportunities.
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...
IPA founder Dean Karlan writes in Scientific American on The Way to Help the Poor. He reviews what we've learned from the research, how he got interested in poverty reesarch, and the latest promising findings.
The New York Times business columnist Eduardo Porter reviews research dispelling negative impacts of welfare payments to the poor. IPA's work is among the studies showing positive effects of cash transfers.
The Economist reports on IPA's six-country study findings on helping the ultrapoor, those making under $1.25 a day. The six-pronged approach showed strong returns in gains for the participants, even a year after the program ended. The story also describes IPA's fndings from Uganda, on a project that helped women earn a living in the post-conflict context.
IPA President and founder Dean Karlan has an op-ed in Reuters titled: New data reveals which approach to helping the poor actually works. He reviews what we know from the 6-country randomized controlled trials published in Science, testing the Graduation approach to helping those who live on less than $1.25 per day.
Longer-term research into anti-poverty interventions is rare, but it exists for cash transfers. A 2013 study in Uganda found that people who received cash enjoyed a 49 percent earnings boost after two years, and a 41 percent increase after four years, compared to people who hadn't gotten a transfer. Another study in Sri Lanka found rates of return averaging 80 percent after five years. In Uganda, not only were the cash recipients better off, but their number of hours worked and labor productivity actually increased.
In The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof writes about IPA's Graduating the Ultra Poor studies recently published in Science.
May 15, 2015 NEW HAVEN CT - A new six-country study shows a comprehensive approach for the ultra-poor, the approximately one billion people who live on less than $1.25 a day, boosted livelihoods, income, and health. Published in Science (available here), the research tested the effectiveness of an approach known as the “Graduation model” in six countries by following 21,000 of the world’s poorest people for three years. The data show this approach led to large and lasting impacts on their standard of living.
Previous efforts by governments and aid groups to reduce poverty among the...