Download
One Acre Fund: Theory of Change for the Adoption of New Technologies Over the last decade, agricultural productivity of smallholder farmers throughout Africa has remained stagnant – often constrained by lack of access to improved agricultural technologies and well-functioning markets. One Acre Fund is an East Africa-based NGO that seeks to address barriers to improved agricultural productivity of smallholder farmers and to reduce poverty. Its core program offers farmers a set of services and agricultural inputs that include financing, agricultural training (extension services), and post-harvest storage. The organization currently serves approximately 280,000 farmers in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania and aims to reach one million farmers by 2020. One Acre Fund’s measurement approach focuses on activity tracking and monitoring to assess how their model works in practice. This tracking data is used to improve the program and to scale it to new areas. The organization enhances the cr...
Type:
Goldilocks Toolkit
Date:
January 04, 2016
Download
Digital Green: Addressing Measurement Challenges in Agricultural Technology Programs The use of information and communications technology (ICT) in agricultural services is becoming increasingly common. These technologies—radio, SMS, television, video, and Internet services—have the potential to help smallholder farmers increase their incomes1 by making it easier for them to learn about and adopt new farming methods, grow higher-value crops, or connect with new markets. Digital Green, an international non-profit organization based in India, uses locally-produced videos and in-person facilitation to share knowledge about improved agricultural and nutrition practices. The program aims to help rural communities across South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa understand and adopt better agricultural and nutrition practices, and the ultimate goal of the program is to have a positive impact on individual well-being. Digital Green is currently working in nine states in India, and also in Afghanistan,...
Type:
Goldilocks Toolkit
Date:
January 04, 2016
Download
Root Capital: Measuring the Impact of Financing Small and Growing Agricultural Businesses Agriculture accounts for one-third of gross domestic product and three-quarters of employment in sub-Saharan Africa, yet agricultural yields and productivity are the lowest of any region of the world.1 While there are many efforts underway to improve the incomes of poor farmers, a number of market weaknesses hamper these efforts, including poor infrastructure, lack of agricultural support services and credit, and difficulty accessing international markets. Root Capital is an impact investor that seeks to address some of the market problems affecting the rural poor. It provides loans and financial management training to small and growing agricultural businesses, which buy directly from smallholder farmers and sell to larger distributors. Root Capital’s assistance is designed to help small and growing agribusinesses to buy better quality products at higher volumes, and with greater consistency from...
Type:
Goldilocks Toolkit
Date:
January 04, 2016
Download
Splash: Finding the Right Timing for Impact Evaluation Lack of safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation, and poor hygiene contribute to poor health outcomes for children in many countries across the world. Based in Seattle, WA, the NGO Splash provides safe water and hygiene education to approximately 290,000 children in schools and orphanages in urban areas of Asia and Africa. Splash provides urban institutions with water purification systems, teaches children about hygiene, and also works to make safe water provision sustainable by working with local partners to scale up its programs. The program started in 2007 in Cambodia, China, and Nepal and has since expanded to Ethiopia, India, and Thailand. Splash is eager to learn about the impact of its program on the health and development of schoolchildren through a rigorous impact evaluation. Before an organization can measure its impact, however, it is important it has a strong monitoring and evaluation system in place, and in 2015, whe...
Type:
Goldilocks Toolkit
Date:
January 04, 2016
Download
TulaSalud: Challenges of Measuring Impact for a Mobile Health program Rapid expansion of mobile technology across developing countries has ushered in the emergence of the “mobile health” sector, or mHealth, which refers to the use of mobile technology in medical care. TulaSalud is an NGO based in Guatemala that implements an mHealth program that aims to improve health services for rural populations. Founded in 2008 with support from the Tula Foundation, TulaSalud operates in close partnership with the Ministry of Health in Alta Verapaz, one of the poorest regions in the country. Alta Verapaz is characterized by chronic malnutrition and high rates of maternal and infant mortality. TulaSalud uses a mobile application to help community health workers (CHWs) collect patient information and provide basic healthcare services. Health outcomes in Alta Verapaz have improved considerably since TulaSalud introduced the program, but the precise contribution of the mHealth platform to this progress...
Type:
Goldilocks Toolkit
Date:
January 04, 2016
Download
Unconditional cash transfers are increasingly recognized to be a cost-effective strategy for reducing poverty. This is in large part due to a small but growing body of research that shows significant positive welfare effects of programs that provide cash to the poor with no strings attached. This subject sparked a debate in the international development field about an alternative approach to improving social welfare, as compared to traditional forms of aid. GiveDirectly is a New York-based nonprofit that provides secure direct cash transfers to the extreme poor in Kenya and Uganda primarily via mobile phone. Since it was founded in 2009, GiveDirectly has grown rapidly: as of 2013, it had transferred $1.5 million to recipients, with $3.4 million scheduled for delivery. The organization has enrolled nearly 10,000 recipients to date and planned to move $20 million during FY2015. Beyond the immediate goal of transforming lives of the poor by providing direct cash transfers, the founders of...
Type:
Goldilocks Toolkit
Date:
January 02, 2016
English
In the previous IPA Health Bulletin (August 2015) we discussed the discernible positive differences in household behaviors and child health in districts where the Community Health Assistants were recruited using career incentives (“Career CHAs”) in comparison with those recruited using community incentives (“Control CHAs”). Over the past months IPA has been meeting with government stakeholders - including the MOH HR Technical Working Group - and presenting what these results mean for the cost-benefit of providing career incentives for the CHAs. Here is a brief summary of that presentation.
Country:
Program area:
Date:
January 01, 2016
English
We implemented a randomized intervention among Malawian farmers aimed at facilitating formal savings for agricultural inputs. Treated farmers were offered the opportunity to have their cash crop harvest proceeds deposited directly into new bank accounts in their own names, while farmers in the control group were paid harvest proceeds in cash (the status quo). The treatment led to higher savings in the months immediately prior to the next agricultural planting season, and raised agricultural input usage in that season. We also find positive treatment effects on subsequent crop sale proceeds and household expenditures. Because the treatment effect on savings was only a small fraction of the treatment effect on the value of agricultural inputs, mechanisms other than alleviation of savings constraints per se are needed to explain the treatment’s impact on input utilization. We discuss other possible mechanisms through which treatment effects may have operated.
Country:
Program area:
Type:
Published Paper
Date:
January 01, 2016
English
We implement an artefactual field experiment in rural Malawi to study revisions of prior choices regarding future income receipts. This allows examination of intertemporal choice revision and its determinants. New tests provide evidence of self-control problems for some participants. Revisions of money allocations toward the present are positively associated with refined measures of present-bias from an earlier survey, and with the randomly assigned closeness in time to the first possible date of money disbursement. We find little evidence that revisions of allocations toward the present are associated with spousal preferences for such revision, household shocks, or the financial sophistication of respondents.
Country:
Type:
Working Paper
Date:
January 01, 2016
English
Currently very few conflict-affected countries have met a single Millennium Development Goal. The need for effective peacebuilding programmes is acute, as development indicators are dramatically low and poverty levels are dramatically high in these conflict-affected areas. This scoping paper by Annette N Brown, Faith McCollister, Drew B Cameron, and Jennifer Ludwig reviews the supply of and demand for evidence from impact evaluations and systematic reviews on peacebuilding interventions.  The analysis focused on three inputs, which were presented according to a common framework of intervention and outcome categories developed by key stakeholders working in the area of peacebuilding. The first two inputs, a review of current and recent programming across 25 intervention categories and the results of a stakeholder survey, provide information on the demand for more and better evidence. The third input is a 3ie evidence gap map, which illustrates the evidence base of impact evaluations and...
Program area:
Type:
Report
Date:
December 31, 2015
Spanish A4
En el marco de la gestión pública por resultados, se viene fortaleciendo una cultura de seguimiento y evaluación en el país, lo cual permite la generación de evidencia para la formulación de políticas públicas de efectiva intervención para el desarrollo y bienestar de la población. En ese contexto se crea la Red Peruana de Monitoreo y Evaluación-REDPERUME, como una organización integrada por actores públicos y privados, que promueve la institucionalización de una cultura de seguimiento y evaluación, contribuyendo de este modo a la efectividad de las políticas, planes, programas y proyectos. Esta Red surge hacia finales del año 2010, como un grupo adscrito a la Red Latinoamérica y del Caribe de Monitoreo y Evaluación-REDLACME, a iniciativa del Ministerio de la Mujer y Poblaciones Vulnerables-MIMP. A la fecha cuenta con 286 integrantes de diversos Sectores del Estado, Organizaciones Privadas y de la Sociedad Civil, encontrando en la Red un espacio vivo para el intercam...
Country:
Type:
Report
Date:
December 04, 2015
English
Experimental tests of microcredit programs have consistently failed to find effects on business and household income. Does the current microfinance model and targeting of clients miss important effects from finance? I present results of a randomized experiment with microenterprise owners in Uganda that sought to expand access to finance for men and women who generally did not qualify for finance under normal circumstances with the goal of inceasing business profits and employment. Participants were offered either capital with repayment (subsidized loans) or without (grants) and were randomly chosen to receive or not receive business skills training in conjunction with the capital. Consistent with existing literature, I find no effect for female enterprises from either form of capital or the training. However, I find large effects for men with access to loans combined with training. There is no effect for men or women from the grants, suggesting repayment requirements can increase the l...
Authors:
Country:
Type:
Working Paper
Date:
December 01, 2015
English
For policy purposes, it is important to understand the relative efficacy of various methods to target the poor. Recently, participatory methods have received particular attention. We examine the effectiveness of a hybrid two-step process that combines a participatory wealth ranking and a verification household survey, relative to two proxy means tests (the Progress out of Poverty Index and a housing index), in Honduras and Peru. The methods we examine perform similarly by various metrics. They all identify most accurately the poorest and the wealthiest households but perform with mixed results among households in the middle of the distribution. Ultimately, given similar performance, the analysis suggests that costs should be the driving consideration in choosing across methods.
Country:
Program area:
Topics:
Type:
Published Paper
Date:
December 01, 2015
Download
Journals, research funders and research groups such as Innovations for Poverty Action are increasingly recognizing the value of research transparency. Research transparency includes pre-registering studies and sharing materials such as data and code to allow others to re-analyze the reported results. Proper data and code management during a project are essential for transparency after a project’s completion. They are also important for internal use, as projects often run for multiple years, with several staff members working on them sequentially. This guide outlines best practices in data and code management. The scope of the guide is to cover the principles of organizing and documenting materials at all steps of the project lifecycle with the goal of making research reproducible. The guide does not cover best practices in designing surveys, cleaning data or conducting data analysis. In each section, we explain the “what,” “why” and “how” of each recommended practice.
Type:
Research Resource
Date:
November 30, 2015
Spanish
Las PyMEs son las mayores creadoras de empleo a nivel mundial, proporcionando—en promedio—más del 66 por ciento de todos los trabajos. Además, se cree que las PyMEs impulsan la innovación, la movilidad social, y la productividad. Sin embargo, las empresas en los países en desarrollo crecen menos que aquellas en países desarrollados debido a los obstáculos que las primeras enfrentan. Entre estos obstáculos se encuentran el escaso acceso al financiamiento, bajos niveles de capital humano y el limitado acceso a mercados. Estas restricciones limitan la contribución del sector a la creación de empleos y al desarrollo económico, lo que ha llevado a gobiernos, organizaciones sin fines de lucro y organismos internacionales a destinar miles de millones de dólares cada año en programas orientados a superar estas barreras. Desafortunadamente, aún existe poca evidencia sobre la capacidad de estos programas para destapar el potencial de crecimiento de las PyMEs. Read this brief in English here. 
Type:
Brief
Date:
November 27, 2015
English
To explain persistent gender gaps in market outcomes, a lab experimental literature explores whether women and men have innate differences in ability (or attitudes or preferences), and a separate field-based literature studies discrimination against women in market settings. We posit that even if women have innate ability that is comparable to that of men, their relative performance may suffer in the market if the task requires them to interact with others in society, and they are subject to discrimination in those interactions. We test these ideas using a large-scale field experiment in 142 Malawian villages where men or women were randomly assigned the task of learning about a new agricultural technology, and then communicating it to others to convince them to adopt. Even though female communicators learn and retain the new information better, and those taught by women experience higher farm yields, the women are not as successful at teaching or convincing others to adopt. Micro-data...
Country:
Program area:
Type:
Working Paper
Date:
November 18, 2015
English
Financial access is critical for the growth of small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). It allows entrepreneurs to innovate, improve efficiency, expand to new markets, and provide millions of jobs. Yet, in developing countries, the majority of SMEs are unable to acquire the financing they need to reach their potential. Financing SMEs in the developing world can be risky and expensive for lenders, leading to an estimated financing gap of one trillion USD (International Finance Corporation, 2011). To reduce the credit gap, financial institutions, governments, and donors invest in lending products and policies designed to provide SMEs with the financing they need to grow and innovate. However, the extent to which such programs effectively reduce the barriers to SME financing has generally not been rigorously measured. The SME Program at Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) rigorously evaluates potential solutions and promotes the most efficient and cost-effective ways to expand access to...
Type:
Brief
Date:
November 17, 2015
Download
In recent years, the influx of available consumer data has presented corporate firms, non-profit organizations, and governments alike with an opportunity to increase the efficacy and targeting of their products and services. The key to identifying what works is to build experimentation through randomized controlled trials (RCTs) into the process of designing new products and services. Running RCTs, however, is not always straightforward: there are a multitude of technical, analytical, and logistical hurdles that arise during the course of designing and implementing an RCT.  To this end, the US Finance Initiative at Innovations for Poverty Action has compiled best practices gleaned from years of experience running RCTs in the finance sector into a toolkit. The toolkit assumes a certain amount of technical knowledge and is intended for researchers, but details the often-neglected “softer” skills of managing an RCT, including the logistics of implementation and the interaction between the...
Country:
Date:
November 10, 2015
English
Significant income gains from migrating from poorer to richer countries have motivated unilateral (source-country) policies facilitating labor emigration. However, their effectiveness is unknown. We conducted a large-scale randomized experiment in the Philippines testing the impact of unilaterally facilitating international labor migration. Our most intensive treatment doubled the rate of job offers but had no identifiable effect on international labor migration. Even the highest overseas job-search rate we induced (22%) falls far short of the share initially expressing interest in migrating (34%). We conclude that unilateral migration facilitation will at most induce a trickle, not a flood, of additional emigration.
Country:
Program area:
Type:
Published Paper
Date:
November 10, 2015
English
Almost all firms in developing countries have fewer than 10 workers, with a modal size of one. Are there potential high-growth entrepreneurs, and can public policy help identify them and facilitate their growth? A large-scale national business plan competition in Nigeria provides evidence on these questions. Random assignment of US$36 million in grants provided each winner with approximately US$50,000. Surveys tracking applicants over three years show that winning leads to greater firm entry, more survival, higher profits and sales, and higher employment, including increases of over 20 percentage points in the likelihood of a firm having 10 or more workers.
Authors:
Country:
Type:
Working Paper
Date:
October 28, 2015

Pages