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This report covers some highlights of IPA’s 2018-2019 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 25, 2019
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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
How large economic stimuli generate individual and aggregate responses is a central question in economics, but has not been studied experimentally. We provided one-time cash transfers of about USD 1000 to over 10,500 poor households across 653 randomized villages in rural Kenya. The implied fiscal shock was over 15 percent of local GDP. We find large impacts on consumption and assets for recipients. Importantly, we document large positive spillovers on non-recipient households and firms, and minimal price inflation. We estimate a local fiscal multiplier of 2.7. We interpret welfare implications through the lens of a simple household optimization framework.
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Working Paper
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December 19, 2020
En promedio, los “startups” en los países en desarrollo tienden a crecer más lentamente que las de los países de altos ingresos, pero las razones por las cuales sucede esto no han sido bien estudiadas. Los investigadores analizaron datos de todos los fabricantes con más de 10 empleados en Colombia y en Estados Unidos durante un período de 30 años, con el fin de comparar el crecimiento del empleo entre productores de cada país. Los resultados sugieren que este patrón se explica por diferencias en los extremos de las distribuciones: El crecimiento más lento a lo largo de los ciclos de vida de las empresas en Colombia en comparación con EE. UU. se debe a una contribución menor por parte las plantas de crecimiento extraordinario y una mayor probabilidad de que las plantas jóvenes de bajo rendimiento permanezcan activas. Las cohortes más jóvenes de empresas explican la mayor parte del crecimiento del empleo en el mediano plazo. Estos hallazgos sugieren que el emprendimiento poco dinámico pe...
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February 25, 2020
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As in many other developing countries, children under the age of five in rural parts of Ghana often fail to reach their development potential. This study evaluated the impacts of the Lively Minds program, a low-cost, community-run, play-based preschool learning program, that engaged both teachers and parents on early childhood development. Key Findings: At the end of the one-year study: The Lively Minds program increased children’s cognition, with significant improvements in emergent-numeracy, executive function, and fine motor skills. The effect of the program on the cognitive skills of children from the poorest 20 percent of households was twice as high as that of children from better-off households. There was also a significant improvement in the literacy skills of the disadvantaged children that was not observed for the rest. Children’s socio-emotional development improved, with the program leading to a reduction in externalizing behavior, including both conduct problems and hypera...
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Brief
Date:
February 25, 2020
Los bancos de microcrédito pueden operar de manera más eficiente si sus asesores de crédito distribuyen su carga de trabajo de manera uniforme a lo largo del tiempo, lo que resulta en un flujo de caja más estable para el banco. Sin embargo, los asesores de crédito, como muchas personas, tienden a procrastinar. Esta evaluación en Colombia encontró que la introducción de objetivos a corto plazo, recordatorios positivos e incentivos, llevaron a un cambio significativo en la forma en que los asesores de crédito asignaron su tiempo y mejoraron su desempeño. No obstante, el efecto de estas pequeñas intervenciones se volvió significativo cuando los gerentes de sucursal fueron incluidos en la intervención.
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February 25, 2020
Las diferencias en la calidad de la gestión contribuyen de manera importante a las diferencias de productividad entre países. Una pregunta clave es cómo mejorar la mala gestión en los países en desarrollo. Esta evaluación probó dos enfoques diferentes destinados a mejorar la gestión en las empresas de autopartes colombianas. El primero fue una consultoría individualizada intensiva y costosa, mientras que la segunda proporcionó consultoría a pequeños grupos de empresas, a aproximadamente un tercio del costo del enfoque individual. Ambos enfoques condujeron a mejoras en las prácticas de gestión de una magnitud similar (8-10 puntos porcentuales) y hay evidencia de que el enfoque grupal aumentó el tamaño de la empresa. Los resultados sugieren que la consultoría grupal puede ser una forma escalable de mejorar las prácticas de gestión.
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February 25, 2020
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Los productos financieros tienen el potencial de ayudar a las personas en condición de pobreza, sin embargo, la mayoría de las instituciones financieras son impulsadas por objetivos comerciales, y su personal puede no tener incentivos a ofrecer productos más adecuados para los clientes de bajos ingresos. Este estudio de auditoría tiene como objetivos determinar los tipos de información que las instituciones proporcionan a los clientes financieros de bajos ingresos en zonas urbanas de Colombia, e identificar diferencias en el trato de las instituciones hacia los clientes con base en el conocimiento financiero percibido.
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February 25, 2020
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Context: A growing body of evidence indicates that nonclinical health care facility staff provide support beyond their traditional roles, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. It is important to examine the role of health facility cleaners in Kenya—from their perspective—to better understand their actual and perceived responsibilities in maternity care. Methods: In-depth, face-to-face interviews using a semistructured guide were conducted with 14 cleaners working at three public health facilities in Nairobi and Kiambu Counties, Kenya, in August and September 2016. Results were coded and categorized using a thematic content analysis approach. Results: Cleaners reported performing a range of services beyond typical maintenance responsibilities, including providing emotional, informational and instrumental support to maternity patients. They described feeling disrespected when patients were untidy or experienced bleeding; however, such examples revealed cleaners' need to bette...
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Published Paper
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February 12, 2020
Muchos empresarios de subsistencia en los países en desarrollo no mantienen registros comerciales adecuados, lo que puede limitar su capacidad de racionalizar las operaciones comerciales y aumentar las ganancias. Este estudio exploratorio fue diseñado para examinar la adopción y el papel de una nueva aplicación móvil para ayudar a los pequeños comerciantes en Colombia a mantener registros, crear informes comerciales y gestionar otras tareas comerciales. Los resultados muestran que, si bien la aplicación no fue ampliamente adoptada por los participantes del estudio, fue particularmente útil para algunos de los comerciantes que tenían buenas prácticas de registros antes de que se les presentara la aplicación. Nota: Este proyecto de investigación es un estudio piloto diseñado para proporcionar información para un potencial escalamiento a un experimento aleatorio controlado completo.
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February 12, 2020
¿Pueden los cursos de educación sexual en línea mejorar el conocimiento, las actitudes y el comportamiento de los estudiantes en materia de salud sexual? ¿Estos cursos también tienen efectos positivos en los compañeros de los estudiantes que toman el curso? Los investigadores evaluaron el impacto de un curso de educación sexual en línea sobre el conocimiento y el comportamiento sexual de los estudiantes de escuelas secundarias urbanas colombianas. El programa de educación tuvo un impacto significativo en conocimiento y actitudes. No se encontraron impactos en las medidas de comportamiento auto informadas, pero el programa condujo a una reducción en la incidencia de enfermedades de transmisión sexual entre las mujeres sexualmente activas. Además, los resultados mostraron un aumento significativo en la redención de cupones para condones entre los estudiantes del grupo de tratamiento.
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February 12, 2020
Las pequeñas y medianas empresas (PYMEs) son consideradas importantes impulsoras del crecimiento en las economías en desarrollo, pero los empresarios en estos países enfrentan muchas barreras, incluido el acceso a la capacitación empresarial, los mercados financieros y las redes empresariales. En Bogotá, Colombia, el programa "Destapa Futuro" de la Fundación Bavaria identifica a las empresas prometedoras y les proporciona un conjunto de recursos financieros, técnicos, comerciales y de capacitación. En esta ronda del programa, la Fundación Bavaria y sus socios seleccionaron competitivamente a 1,000 empresarios para una capacitación virtual de un mes que culminó en una competencia de planes de negocios. Con base en sus planes de negocios, 454 empresarios fueron elegidos para participar en una evaluación. La mitad se seleccionó al azar para recibir capacitación adicional de manera presencial, y fue comparada con la otra mitad. Los investigadores medirán el impacto del programa en las gana...
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February 12, 2020
Las pequeñas y medianas empresas (PYMEs) son consideradas importantes impulsoras del crecimiento en las economías en desarrollo, pero los empresarios en estos países enfrentan muchas barreras, incluido el acceso deficiente a la capacitación, los mercados financieros y las redes empresariales. En Colombia, el programa  "Destapa Futuro" de la Fundación Bavaria identifica empresas prometedoras y les proporciona un conjunto de recursos financieros, técnicos, comerciales y de capacitación. Los investigadores encontraron que las capacitaciones no afectaron los resultados comerciales más importantes, como las ventas y las ganancias, pero ayudaron a los empresarios a expandir sus redes de negocios.
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February 12, 2020
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We evaluate the impact of an educational program that aims to build inter-ethnic cohesion in schools by developing perspective-taking ability in children. The program takes place in southeastern Turkey, a high-stakes context in which there has been a massive influx of refugees. We measure outcomes that are fundamental to economic interactions and social cohesion, including peer violence, social exclusion, and prosocial behavior. Using randomized variation in program implementation, we find that the program significantly lowers peer violence and victimization on school grounds. It also reduces social exclusion and ethnic segregation in the classroom, measured by inter-ethnic friendship ties. We find that the program is highly effective in enhancing prosocial behavior: Treated students exhibit significantly higher trust, reciprocity, and altruism toward each other. Our results suggest that well-targeted educational strategies can go a long way in building social capital, even in sociopol...
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Working Paper
Date:
February 10, 2020
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In 2016, the Liberian government delegated management of 93 randomly selected public schools to private providers. Providers received US$50 per pupil, on top of US$50 per pupil annual expenditure in control schools. After one academic year, students in outsourced schools scored 0.18σ higher in English and mathematics. We do not find heterogeneity in learning gains or enrollment by student characteristics, but there is significant heterogeneity across providers. While outsourcing appears to be a cost-effective way to use new resources to improve test scores, some providers engaged in unforeseen and potentially harmful behavior, complicating any assessment of welfare gains.
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Published Paper
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January 31, 2020
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Global efforts are underway to improve education quality—to ensure children are not only in school but learning and developing to their full potential. Although many theories exist on the best approaches to improve education quality, policymakers and implementers need evidence on which programs are effective at helping children actually learn while in school. Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy nonprofit that discovers and advances what works to reduce poverty and improve lives. In addition to conducting rigorous research, IPA reviews and consolidates research for policymakers and practitioners. The objective is to distill complex, nuanced, and dynamic research findings into focused and actionable recommendations. This brief summarizes and provides key lessons from multiple meta-analyses and over two-dozen randomized evaluations (both IPA and non-IPA studies) on improving learning outcomes in low-income countries, with a focus on basic education. 
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Brief
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December 17, 2019
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The Liberian Education Advancement Partnership (LEAP), originally known as Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL), began in 2016 with 93 public schools, and has since expanded to an additional 101 schools. The model is similar to charter schools in the United States or academies in the United Kingdom. LEAP schools remain public schools, charge no fees, and are staffed by public school teachers, but each school is managed by one of eight private contractors, including three for-profit companies and five charities which have taken responsibility for everything from teacher in-service training to fixing leaks in the roof.  While originally motivated by the government’s desire to improve test scores, the initiative has been dogged by the expulsion of students by private operators, an alleged coverup of sexual abuse of minors, and cost overruns.  This brief summarizes the results of a three-year randomized control trial, comparing outcomes for children in LEAP schools to those in regular gov...
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Brief
Date:
December 15, 2019
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The work of Nobel Laureates Banerjee, Duflo and Kremer has centered around the use of randomized control trials to help solve development problems. To date, however, few field experiments have been undertaken to evaluate the effects of humanitarian assistance. The reasons may lie in challenges related to logistics, fragility, security and ethics that often loom large in humanitarian settings. Yet every year, billions of dollars are spent on humanitarian aid, and policymakers are in need of rigorous evidence. In this paper, we reflect on the opportunities and risks of running experiments in humanitarian settings, and provide, as illustration, insights from our experiences with recent field experiments of large-scale humanitarian aid programs in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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Published Paper
Date:
December 01, 2019
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Little evidence exists on women’s experiences of care during abortion care, partly due to limitations in existing measures. Moreover, globally, the development and rapid growth in the availability of medication abortions (MA) has radically changed the options for safe abortions for women. It is therefore important to understand how women’s experiences of care may differ across medication and manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) abortions. This study uses a validated person-centered abortion care scale (categorized as low, medium, and high levels, with high levels representing the greatest level of person-centered care) to assess women’s experiences of care undergoing medication abortions vs. MVA. This paper reports on a cross-sectional study of 353 women undergoing abortions at one of six family planning clinics in Nairobi County, Kenya in 2018. Comparing abortion types, we found that the MVA sample was more likely to report “high” levels of person-centered abortion care compared to the MA s...
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Published Paper
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November 25, 2019

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