English
Can volunteer farmers effectively communicate information about conservation farming and nutrient management to other farmers? Does the social position and gender of these farmers affect their success in disseminating this knowledge? This evaluation studies the effects of new ways to disseminate knowledge of conservation farming and nutrient management practices via the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MoAFS) extension staff. We observe that volunteer farmers trained by MoAFS extension workers can effectively disseminate knowledge of conservation farming and nutrient management techniques to others in their villages. The largest gains in knowledge and usage took place when these communicators were similar to the average village member and where the communicators were offered moderate, in-kind rewards for good performance.
Country:
Program area:
Type:
Brief
Date:
December 01, 2013
English
IPA and J-PAL are complementary organizations that work together towards the common goal of reducing poverty by ensuring that policy is based on scientific evidence.
Type:
Brief
Date:
December 01, 2013
English
While primary school net enrolment rates are low in Nigeria overall, in the poor peri-urban community of Agege in Lagos State, preschool enrollment rates are surprisingly high. This high participation is reflecting both strong parental beliefs in the importance of preschool and the widespread availability of preschool facilities in schools. The preschool sector in Agege is dominated by private schools despite the decree by the Nigerian government that every public primary school should have an attached preschool and that these public preschool services should be provided free of charge. An estimated 82% of preschool students in the study area are attending private preschools.   In August and September 2013 Innovations for Poverty Action conducted a data collection exercise in the Agege slum area of Lagos. 126 household surveys and 18 headmaster interviews were conducted with the aim of discovering the scale, cost and quality and preschool education in this area. This paper gives detail...
Country:
Program area:
Type:
Report
Date:
December 01, 2013
English
The investment decisions of small scale farmers in developing countries are conditioned by their financial environment. Binding credit market constraints and incomplete insurance can limit investment in activities with high expected profits. We conducted several experiments in northern Ghana in which farmers were randomly assigned to receive cash grants, grants of or opportunities to purchase rainfall index insurance, or a combination of the two. Demand for index insurance is strong, and insurance leads to significantly larger agricultural investment and riskier production choices in agriculture. The binding constraint to farmer investment is uninsured risk: When provided with insurance against the primary catastrophic risk they face, farmers are able to find resources to increase expenditure on their farms. Demand for insurance in subsequent years is strongly increasing with the farmer’s own receipt of insurance payouts, with the receipt of payouts by others in the farmer’s social net...
Country:
Type:
Published Paper
Date:
December 01, 2013
English
The government has not historically been a major actor in the preprimary sector, but over the last decade this has changed substantially; the Office of the President declared Early Childhood Development (ECD) a national priority in 2004, and the government has both increased funding for private not-for-profit preschools and allowed for a large scale expansion (predominantly in public schools) of a reception year for 5 to 6 year-old children immediately before they start at primary school. Considerable progress been made towards universal attendance of this Reception (or “grade R”) across the country. This has led to the development of a two level preprimary system consisting of smaller private preschools (largely non-profits by status) aimed at 3-5 year olds, and predominantly public grade Rs.   In July and August 2013, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) conducted a data collection exercise in Soweto, Johannesburg. Sampling was designed such that the study is representative of the 8...
Country:
Program area:
Type:
Report
Date:
November 01, 2013
English
Do the repayment requirements of the classic microfinance contract inhibit investment in high-return but illiquid business opportunities among the poor? Using a field experiment, we compare the classic contract which requires that repayment begin immediately after loan disbursement to a contract that includes a two-month grace period. The provision of a grace period increased short-run business investment and long-run profits but also default rates. The results, thus, indicate that debt contracts that require early repayment discourage illiquid risky investment and thereby limit the potential impact of microfinance on microenterprise growth and household poverty.
Country:
Type:
Published Paper
Date:
October 01, 2013
English
Sexual health problems cause negative externalities from contagious diseases and public expenditure burdens from teenage pregnancies. In a randomized evaluation, we find that an online sexual health education course in Colombia leads to significant impacts on knowledge and attitudes but no impact on selfreported behavior, on average; although fewer STIs are reported for baseline sexually active females. To go beyond self-reported measures, we provide condom vouchers six months after the course to both treatment and control groups and estimate a 9 percentage point treatment effect (52% increase) on the likelihood of redemption. Using knowledge of friendship networks, we document a strong social reinforcement effect: the impacts of the course intensify when a larger fraction of a student’s friends is also treated. In particular, when full sets of friends are treated we find significant reductions in sexually active, frequency of sex, and number of partners. Throughout the analysis we fai...
Country:
Program area:
Type:
Working Paper
Date:
October 01, 2013
English
In the last ten years, we have created a solid body of evidence. Our work has already contributed to improving millions of lives. For example, as a result of an IPA study, over 40 million kids have been treated for intestinal worms, leading to a significant increase in their school attendance. Now, with over 500 studies, we have reached a key juncture: for this work to be worthwhile, we need to build on our successes and ensure that all this evidence translates into actual programs and policies. To achieve our vision, in the next five years IPA will continue to create More Evidence of what works best to help the poor, and we will expand our capacity to mobilize and support decisionmakers to use evidence, resulting in Better Programs and Policies. To get there, we will leverage our unique local presence, and build a strong organization with the People, Systems, and Resources necessary to achieve our goals.
Type:
Annual Report
Date:
September 01, 2013
English
In 2013 IPA celebrated ten years of producing high-quality evidence about what works, and what does not work, to improve the lives of the poor. It was a year of celebration for our accomplishments. More so, it was a time to prepare our organization for the next phase as we continue to pursue our vision of a world with More Evidence and Less Poverty.   View an online version of the report at annualreport.poverty-action.org/2013annualreport/
Type:
Annual Report
Date:
September 01, 2013
English
We use detailed contract level data on a portfolio of 197 coffee washing stations in 18 countries to identify the sources and consequences of credit markets imperfections. Due to moral hazard, default rates increase following unanticipated increases in world coffee prices just before (but not just after) the maturity date of the contract. Strategic default is deterred by relationships with the lender and foreign buyers: the value of informal enforcement amounts to 50% of the value of the sale contract for repaying borrowers. A RDD shows that firms are credit constrained. Additional loans are used to increase input purchases from farmers rather than substituting other sources of credit. Prices paid to farmers increase implying the existence of contractual externalities along the supply chain.
Type:
Working Paper
Date:
September 01, 2013
English
Low adoption of productive agricultural technologies is a puzzle. Agricultural extension services rely on external agents to communicate with farmers, although social networks are known to be the most credible source of information about new technologies. We conduct a large-scale field experiment on communication strategies in which extension workers are partnered with different members of social networks. We show that communicator actions and effort are susceptible to small performance incentives, and adoption rates vary by communicator type. Communicators who face conditions most comparable to target farmers are the most persuasive. Incorporating communication dynamics can enrich the literature on social learning. 
Country:
Program area:
Type:
Working Paper
Date:
August 30, 2013
English
Does providing information about a product influence the impact of price subsidies on purchases? This question is particularly relevant for health products in developing countries where both informational campaigns and price subsidies are common policy instruments. We conduct a field experiment in Zambia and find that providing information about a new version of a product significantly increases the impact of price subsidies on take-up. Taken alone, the information manipulation has no significant impact on demand while the price subsidy substantially increases demand. However, the evaluation of either intervention in isolation fails to capture the significant complementarity between the two.
Country:
Program area:
Topics:
Type:
Published Paper
Date:
August 20, 2013
English
Nairobi has a vibrant private and public education sector at both the primary and preprimary levels. Preschools abound in Nairobi and can be found on many streets and in many neighborhoods. Parents generally give a high priority to sending children to preschool and put a great deal of emphasis on academic study starting as soon as at age 3. Solid academic attainment from ages 3 to 6 is generally viewed as an important preparation for primary school. The educational landscape is changing quickly. The 2010 Kenyan Constitution guarantees all children’s right to free compulsory basic education, but the preschool sector is predominately dominated by the growing private school industry: an estimated 94% of preschool students in the study area of Mukuru are attending private preschools.   In May and June 2013 Innovations for Poverty Action conducted a data collection exercise in the Mukuru slum area of Nairobi. 221 household surveys, 29 headmaster surveys and 32 classroom observations were co...
Country:
Program area:
Type:
Report
Date:
August 01, 2013
English
There is growing interest in using messaging to drive prosocial behaviors, which contribute to investment in public goods. The authors worked with a leading nongovernmental organization in Peru to randomize nine different prorecycling messages that were crafted on the basis of best practices, prior evidence, and theories of behavioral change. Different variants emphasized information on environmental or social benefits, social comparisons, social sanctions, authority, and reminders. None of the messages had significant effects on recycling behavior. However, reducing the cost of ongoing participation by providing a recycling bin significantly increased recycling among enrolled households.
Country:
Program area:
Type:
Working Paper
Date:
July 01, 2013
English
This study estimates long-run impacts of a child health investment, exploiting community-wide experimental variation in school-based deworming. The program increased education among women and labor supply among men, with accompanying shifts in labor market specialization. Ten years after deworming treatment, women who were eligible as girls are 25% more likely to have attended secondary school, halving the gender gap. They reallocate time from traditional agriculture into cash crops and entrepreneurship. Men who were eligible as boys stay enrolled for more years of primary school, work 17% more hours each week, spend more time in entrepreneurship, are more likely to hold manufacturing jobs, and miss one fewer meal per week. We estimate an annualized financial internal rate of return of at least 32.2%. 
Country:
Program area:
Type:
Working Paper
Date:
June 01, 2013
English
The long-run price elasticity of demand for credit is a key parameter for intertemporal modeling, policy levers, and lending practice. We use randomized interest rates, offered across 80 regions by Mexico’s largest microlender, to identify a 29-month dollars-borrowed elasticity of -1.9. This elasticity increases from -1.1 in year one to -2.9 in year three. The number of borrowers is also elastic. Credit bureau data does not show evidence of crowd-out. Competitors do not respond by reducing rates, perhaps because Compartamos’ profits are unchanged. The results are consistent with multiple equilibria in loan pricing.
Country:
Program area:
Type:
Working Paper
Date:
May 31, 2013
English
We evaluate the impact of a health information intervention implemented through mobile phones, using a clustered randomized control trial augmented by qualitative interviews. The intervention aimed to improve sexual health knowledge and shift individuals towards safer sexual behavior by providing reliable information about sexual health. The novel technology designed by Google and Grameen Technology Center provided automated searches of an advice database on topics requested by users via SMS. It was offered by MTN Uganda at no cost to users. Quantitative survey results allow us to reject the hypothesis that improving access to information would increase knowledge and shift behavior to less risky sexual activities. In fact, we find that the service led to an increase in promiscuity, and no shift in perception of norms. Qualitative focus groups discussions support the findings of the quantitative survey results. We conclude by discussing a potential mechanism explaining the counterintuit...
Country:
Program area:
Type:
Published Paper
Date:
May 31, 2013
English
Theories abound for why individuals give to charity. We conduct a randomized field experiment with a Yale service club and find that the promise of public recognition increases giving. Some may claim that they give when offered public recognition in order to motivate others to give too, rather than for the more obvious expected private gain from increasing one’s social standing. To tease apart these two theories, we also conduct a laboratory experiment with undergraduates. Our evidence is not consistent with individuals giving primarily because of a desire to influence the gifts of others. We conclude that social image motivations are a central determinant of giving when gifts are publicly recognized.
Country:
Type:
Working Paper
Date:
May 13, 2013
English
Efficient targeting of public programs is difficult when the cost or bene!t to potential recipients is private information. This study illustrates the potential of self-selection to improve allocational outcomes in the context of a program that subsidizes tree planting in Malawi. Landholders who received a tree planting contract as a result of bidding in an auction kept significantly more trees alive over a three year period than did landholders who received the contract through a lottery. The gains from targeting on private information through the auction represent a 30 percent cost savings per surviving tree for the implementing organization.
Authors:
Country:
Program area:
Topics:
Type:
Working Paper
Date:
May 03, 2013

Pages