Media Coverage
December 28, 2017

NPR's Goats and Soda section has a feature about No Lean Season—a program that offers small, low-interest cash loans for transportation costs to help members of rural poor households get from their farms to cities to find their own temporary employment during the agricultural lean season. In the feature, researcher Mushfiq Mobarak discusses his inspiration for studying the idea and the process that has led to the program's expansion since IPA initially tested the idea. This year, GiveWell added No Lean Season to their list of top charities. 

Focus group discussion
September 27, 2017

Editor's note: This post originally appeared on Medium.

Over the last several months, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and the IRC’s Airbel Center have been searching for innovative methods and new engagement tools to prevent intimate partner violence (IPV) in Liberia. We interviewed a sample of Monrovian residents, including community and religious leaders, and held informal discussions in bars and on the street. Many men and women in Liberia described a man’s key responsibility in a relationship as “someone who provides financially for the home.” Failing to meet this...

Empowering Girls in Rural Bangladesh
Sarah Baird
September 25, 2017

This is the second in a series of blog posts summarizing the discussions from a May 2017 researcher gathering on measuring women’s empowerment in impact evaluations. Read the first post on household decision-making power here.

Painting a full picture of women’s empowerment in impact evaluations using surveys alone can be challenging. Qualitative methods can help researchers better understand a program’s impact on women’s lived experience and identify reasons why a program worked or didn’t work, but economists rarely have incentives to incorporate robust qualitative methods into...

Rachel Glennerster
September 06, 2017

This is the first in a series of blog posts summarizing the discussions from a researcher gathering on measuring women’s empowerment in impact evaluations co-hosted by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and the AbdulLatif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) in May 2017.


By Rachel Glennerster and Claire Walsh

One of the first rules of thumb you learn about developing survey questions is that they should be specific and time-bound. In other words, it’s better if a question is about a specific event or behavior rather than a vague idea so respondents are less likely to...

Media Coverage
March 14, 2017

PI Chris Blattman published an open letter to Bill Gates in, citing several IPA studies. Gates has a plan to boost chicken ownership in sub-Saharan Africa from five to 30 percent. But we know from rigorous randomized controlled trials that cash is cheap, effective, and easy to deliver. Blattman urges Gates to promote a randomized controlled trial to determine which is the most effective and efficient way to help the poor.

Media Coverage
March 11, 2017

Among Southeast Asian Countries, Myanmar suffers particularly from flooding, cyclones, and landslides. For low-income populations, these natural disasters can be especially devastating, leading to child malnutrition and unsanitary conditions. Intellasia reports on how IPA Myanmar is partnering with Save the Children to generate evidence on the effectiveness of government-led cash transfer programs on child nutrition and hygiene.

Media Coverage
March 06, 2017

The "hunger season," after last season's harvest has run out but before the new one has come in, is an annual problem in many farming communities. The Financial Times reports on IPAs successful test of an idea to incentivize family members to look for temporary work in the city to support their families. Based on our data, the program is now being scaled up there.

Media Coverage
February 24, 2017

This weekend's The New York Times Magazine on The Future of Work has a featured profile on GiveDirectly and the organization's quest to "show the world that a basic income is a cheap, scalable way to aid the poorest people on the planet."

Read more about IPA's work with GiveDirectly and cash transfers here.

Media Coverage
October 17, 2016

Significant evidence so far points to the success of graduation style programs to get people out of poverty. These programs help the poorest “graduate” from destitution into sustainable livelihoods, largely by fostering self-dependence and resilience before disaster hits. In 2015 the Consulting Group to Assist the Poor at the World Bank and Ford Foundation released research documenting how graduation programs worked across contexts, in six countries, with six different implementers, to assist the poorest people out of poverty.

Media Coverage
October 06, 2016

The Economist talks about IPA's work in microcredit, flexible repayment loans, and ultra-poor graduation studies.

Media Coverage
October 05, 2016

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...

Mushfiq Mobarak speaks to reporters about his seasonal migration of laborers study
Media Coverage
July 17, 2016

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...

Media Coverage
May 07, 2016

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...

Media Coverage
March 28, 2016

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...

Media Coverage
February 03, 2016

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.