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This report covers some highlights of IPA’s 2019-2020 accomplishments, which were made possible by the world-class researchers, organizations, and funders we are proud to call our partners.
Type:
Annual Report
Date:
October 30, 2020
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Visit our Strategic Ambition Website Today, IPA’s vision remains the same as always: a world with more evidence and less poverty. To achieve this vision, our last strategic plan emphasized promoting the adoption and scale-up of effective solutions. Since 2012, we have continued growing the body of evidence and contributed to the adoption of evidence-based programs, improving hundreds of millions of lives.  Yet we have learned that promoting an effective solution alone is not enough for evidence to be used systematically. Our strategic ambition through 2025 emphasizes the need for iterative learning about what works (and doesn’t work!), and why, and the need to equip decision-makers to use evidence, by building deep partnerships, engaging decision-makers throughout the research process, and helping them develop learning agendas adapted to their needs. We hope you will join us in this ambition, as we continue to build a world with more evidence and less poverty.
Type:
Annual Report
Date:
December 11, 2018
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We partnered with the Ghanaian government to evaluate four methods of increasing achievement in schools with low average but heterogeneous student achievement. All methods focused on teaching at the learning level of the child—a remedial pull-out program with a teaching assistant, a remedial after school program with an assistant, an assistant teaching half the students, or teachers focusing on homogeneous groups of learners. Despite imperfect implementation, student learning increased across all four more so for female students, and gains persisted after the program ended. Fidelity of implementation decreased over time for the assistants but increased for the teachers.
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Working Paper
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March 01, 2021
¿Puede el rediseño de los estados de cuentas de aportes a las pensiones aumentar la comprensión de los aspectos clave relacionados con el sistema de pensiones y mejorar la cobertura? Investigadores en Colombia se asociaron con Colpensiones, la administradora pública de fondos de pensiones de Colombia, para probar el efecto del rediseño de los extractos de pensiones en la comprensión de la información presentada a los beneficiarios y la identificación de posibles errores en sus extractos. El rediseño de los estados de cuenta condujo a una mejora en la comprensión de los beneficiarios de su información y a un aumento de las correcciones solicitadas, aunque estos efectos variaron según el tipo de beneficiario.
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Brief
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March 01, 2021
¿Cómo apoyan las transferencias monetarias a las poblaciones vulnerables recientemente designadas y trabajadores informales durante una crisis económica? Para ayudar a responder estas preguntas, los investigadores están estudiando el efecto de Ingreso Solidario, una nueva transferencia monetaria no condicionada en Colombia que se puso en marcha en respuesta a la pandemia del COVID-19. Ingreso Solidario atenderá a hasta 2,6 millones de hogares de renta media baja que no estaban inscritos en otros programas de asistencia social existentes, ampliando así la cobertura de la protección social a las poblaciones de renta media baja. Los investigadores están evaluando los efectos de la transferencia en los ingresos de los beneficiarios, el gasto alimentario y no alimentario, la participación en el mercado laboral y la adopción y uso de productos financieros digitales.
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Brief
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March 01, 2021
A medida que los patrones de migración cambian, se necesitan más pruebas del impacto de los programas de regularización en los países en desarrollo. En Colombia, los investigadores están evaluando el impacto de un programa de permisos temporales de trabajo y residencia para los migrantes venezolanos. Los resultadosque se estudiarán incluyen indicadores laborales, de salud y de integración.
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Brief
Date:
March 01, 2021
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Founded in 2019, IPA Nigeria develops applicable research by building foundational research capacity and conducting evaluations in areas of pressing national concern. Examples of our work in this brief offer promising insights into critical issues that affect the lives of the Nigerian poor.
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Brief
Date:
March 01, 2021
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We report the results of a randomized field experiment in the Philippines on the effects of two common anti-vote-selling strategies involving eliciting promises from voters. An invitation to promise not to vote-sell is taken up by most respondents, reduces vote-selling, and has a larger effect in races with smaller vote-buying payments. The treatment reduces vote-selling in the smallest-stakes election by 10.9 percentage points. Inviting voters to promise to “vote your conscience” despite accepting money is significantly less effective. The results are consistent with a behavioral model in which voters are only partially sophisticated about their vote-selling temptation.
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Published Paper
Date:
March 01, 2021
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Due to the gravity and pervasiveness of human trafficking, it is of vital importance that practitioners, policymakers, and researchers strengthen the evidence on what programs work to reduce trafficking and protect victims. Innovations for Poverty Action established the Human Trafficking Research Initiative (HTRI) to work with researchers and partner organizations to expand the evidence base on effective solutions to reduce modern slavery and human trafficking. Over the next five years, IPA aims to facilitate and support meaningful, rigorous, and policy-relevant studies on trafficking to help combat this egregious global problem.  The purpose of this research fund is to build on sound theory and programmatic information for combating human trafficking. This Initiative is supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Program to End Modern Slavery and academic leadership of Dr. Cecilia Hyunjung Mo (University of California, Berkeley) and Dr. Guy Grossman (University of Pennsylvania). The H...
Type:
Research Resource
Date:
February 22, 2021
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The Human Trafficking Research Initiative (HTRI) invites proposals from researchers and organizations that intend to design and carry out studies on how to reduce human trafficking or respond to the needs of human trafficking victims, but need some additional time and support to push the research project to the next stage. We expect to fund a total of 6 to 9 proposals in this round that, as noted below, could cover a range of different activities.  With this call for proposals, IPA solicits proposals from researcher teams interested in expanding the evidence to further investigate this important topic. The fund will consider human trafficking research projects from all approaches to reduce human trafficking, including prevention, protection, prosecution, advocacy, and reestablishment programs. The primary focus of the fund for this round of study is to strengthen the evidence around potentially impactful programs. Proposals are due by March 21, 2021. These grants are geared to rapidly...
Type:
Research Resource
Date:
February 22, 2021
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This plain-language brief summarizes the findings in the paper Falling living standards during the COVID-19 crisis: Quantitative evidence from nine developing countries published in Science Advances. The COVID-19 pandemic and the social-distancing policies put in place to contain the virus have led to a reduction in economic activity around the world. Families in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), many of whom work in the informal sector and lack social safety nets, face potentially stark threats to their livelihoods. However, little data exists on how these communities are being affected. During April-July 2020, researchers collected data on the early socioeconomic effects of COVID-19 using phone surveys of over 30,000 households (containing over 100,000 people) in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Ghana, Kenya, Nepal, Philippines, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone.
Type:
Brief
Date:
February 05, 2021
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Virtual phone banks used to conduct surveys necessitate different surveyors contracts than standard face-to-face surveys. IPA Zambia modified contracts to ensure transparent and fair payment for surveyors as well as productivity-based incentives to increase productivity. Contracts include daily targets for attempted calls and completed interviews but are calculated on a weekly basis to help mitigate fluctuations in productivity associated with call attempt protocols and sampling variation.
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Phone Survey Methods Resource
Date:
January 25, 2021
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In a phone survey, asking individuals to give data on other members of their household is a useful way to collect data on larger numbers of people or on specific populations (such as married women or students), but it requires listing household members in a roster to determine who is being described. It is uncommon to include household rosters in phone surveys because respondents typically are not willing to spend as much time on the phone as they are in face-to-face interviews. In a recent project, IPA Colombia found that household rosters can be conducted in a short amount of time: an average of less than 3.5 minutes for households that averaged 4.1 members. This provided an opportunity to target questions to and/or about specific household members in order to create a richer, more comprehensive dataset. 
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Phone Survey Methods Resource
Date:
January 25, 2021
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There is a vast literature on how incentives affect response rates as well as response quality in cross-sectional (one point in time) and longitudinal surveys (repeated observations) in higher-income countries. However, there is more limited evidence around applicability to lower- and medium- income countries (LMICs). IPA Colombia tested how the effect of an increase in incentive size affects response rates, response quality, and response distributions. Consistent with prior research, they found no significant differences in response rates, item non-response, and no pattern of differences in responses when incentive amounts were increased.
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Phone Survey Methods Resource
Date:
January 25, 2021
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IPA Peru partnered with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Ministries of Education in Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Peru to study the effects of COVID-19 on educational systems in Latin America. In Peru, IPA conducted 4,939 surveys representing 2.3 percent of total pre-school and kindergarten enrollment in the country using two recruitment modes: a phone survey and a self-administered survey recruited using WhatsApp. Surveys that target caregivers of school-age children were more likely to reach women (respondents who identified as female) than men, but the way in which sample members are recruited can have a big impact on how large a majority women make up. In this case, with WhatsApp we reached an even higher share of women (91 percent versus 9 percent men) than phone (72 percent women versus 28 percent men). WhatsApp respondents were also younger. The research team hypothesized that the recruitment mode and administrative list construction combined to produce...
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Phone Survey Methods Resource
Date:
January 25, 2021
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IPA Uganda conducted a random digit dial (RDD) survey on consumer protection issues with a completely virtual phone bank and a quota sampling protocol meant to cover a broad selection of adults in the country. Quota sampling involves placing calls until a quota is reached for each combination of respondent characteristics, whose prevalence in the target population is believed to be known. It is a good way to achieve samples that are representative along key dimensions. In some cases, it can increase time and monetary costs substantively to meet quotas for rare combinations of respondent characteristics. 
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Phone Survey Methods Resource
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January 25, 2021
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Standard quality control procedures for face-to-face surveys use a set of techniques to measure data quality including resurveying respondents on a subset of questions (“backchecking”), accompanying enumerators during the start of the survey to target retraining, and a set of automated data checks. The pivot to remote survey modes made some of these quality control processes impossible to implement.   IPA Colombia piloted a data quality review system meant to improve retention rates and response quality during a high-frequency computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI) that lasted eight days. Due to concerns about low response rate in the follow-up, the project team elected to not backcheck surveys, where researchers resurvey a random subset of respondents to estimate data quality measures. Instead, the project team leveraged audio metadata and double entry from audio recordings to identify potential errors and areas of improvement for interviewer retraining.
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Phone Survey Methods Resource
Date:
January 25, 2021
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Researchers often have a database of addresses as a starting point for sampling design. They often want to sample from some geographic unit like a neighborhood. To do this, they need geospatial data, which is a set of coordinates that represent the boundaries of the geographic unit, and software capable of locating these coordinates. This is called geolocation. This brief describes the performance of two tools that IPA Colombia used to sample respondents based on geolocated data. The Google Geolocation API and QGIS outperformed ArcGIS in terms of geolocation accuracy by a substantive margin
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Phone Survey Methods Resource
Date:
January 25, 2021
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The “Proyecto Mi Barrio” research project based in Medellín, Colombia conducted phone surveys over a one-month period during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey aimed to analyze how organized crime groups were responding to the pandemic. To ensure that the sample was representative of the full set of neighborhoods, or barrio, the project used quota sampling, where a set number of respondents from each neighborhood was targeted to be surveyed. The research team fully automated this process in SurveyCTO to reduce sources of error. 
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Phone Survey Methods Resource
Date:
January 25, 2021
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Phone surveys can be an especially difficult mode over which to collect sensitive data. IPA Colombia conducted phone surveys in May and June, 2020 to understand how the organized crime groups of Medellín were responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. This necessitated asking sensitive questions about organized crime and illegal activities, specifically, extortion, perception of the drug market, and behavior of criminal groups. It can be particularly difficult to build trust over the phone, especially when the respondent cannot easily confirm who they are speaking to. The project team conducted an extensive piloting process to test multiple strategies for building trust and designing questionnaires. After completing this process, they catalogued a set of best practices for phone surveying with sensitive questions based on their experience.
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Phone Survey Methods Resource
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January 25, 2021

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