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The IPA Philippines office partnered with the Supreme Court of the Philippines (SC) and the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) to conduct a series of studies on the effect of judicial reforms on the efficiency of the lower trial courts. To comply with global and Philippine government safety guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic, the research team adjusted the qualitative research approach to be fully remote. While it was necessary to do so during the pandemic, the study provides important lessons about remote qualitative interviews that will be relevant for future work. Remote video interviewing was successful enough that it be worthwhile even when in-person interviewing is possible, although group size may need to be limited compared to larger focus group. 
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Phone Survey Methods Resource
Date:
January 25, 2021
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COVID-19 motivated a rapid shift to remote data collection. In addition to technical hurdles associated with computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI), survey implementation may require more comprehensive productivity management to ensure that samples are representative and that calls are made during different times of the day and days of the week, to ensure that individuals are not systematically excluded based on the schedules they keep (e.g. farmers or night-shift workers). IPA Uganda conducted a random digit dialing (RDD) survey on financial fraud with a completely virtual phone bank and protocols that specified extended call hours to ensure that a wide variety of respondents could be reached. To monitor performance effectively, the team integrated daily call time monitoring into high-frequency checks of survey data using the IPA-developed sctotimeuse Stata command.
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Phone Survey Methods Resource
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January 25, 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
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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
Date:
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
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January 25, 2021
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I present evidence that unmet liquidity needs for indivisible, "lumpy," expenditures increase demand for betting as a second-best method of liquidity generation in the presence of financial constraints. With a sample of 1,708 sports bettors in Kampala, Uganda, I show that participants' targeted payouts are linked to anticipated expenditures, while winnings increase lumpy expenditures disproportionately. I show that a randomized savings treatment decreases demand for betting. And I use two lab-in-the-field experiments to show that unmet liquidity needs and saving ability are important mechanisms. These results cannot be explained by betting as a purely normal good.
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Published Paper
Date:
January 10, 2021
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Professional advancement often depends on subjective performance reviews, especially in developing countries where objective data on performance may not be available. But subjective reviews may be susceptible to personal biases based on characteristics like gender. To better understand this in the education sector in Ghana, researchers compared both principals’ reviews and teacher self-assessments of effectiveness to an objective measure:  increases in student test scores. Female teachers were objectively more effective based on increases in student test scores. However, principals were 11 percentage points less likely to rate a female teacher as effective compared to a male teacher. These findings contribute to the evidence on gender biases in subjective assessments and related barriers faced by women in labor markets in developing countries.
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Working Paper
Date:
January 06, 2021
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We conduct a field experiment offering graduated microcredit clients the opportunity to finance a business asset worth four times their previous borrowing limit. We implement this using a hire-purchase contract; our control group is offered a zero-interest loan. We find large, significant and persistent effects from asset finance contracts: treated microenterprise owners run larger businesses and enjoy higher profits; consequently, household consumption increases, particularly on food and children’s education. A dynamic structural model with non-convex capital adjustment costs rationalizes our results; this highlights the potential for welfare improvements through large capital injections that are financially sustainable for microfinance institutions.
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Working Paper
Date:
January 01, 2021
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This brief summarizes existing research on how different survey modes may affect the accuracy of responses to the same questions. The potential mechanisms for these differences, known as mode effects, are outlined in the brief along with suggestions for future research.
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Phone Survey Methods Resource
Date:
December 29, 2020
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This RFP closed on February 12, 2021. Thank you to all who submitted applications. In response to the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls, IPA launched the Women’s Work, Entrepreneurship, and Skilling (WWES) Initiative as part of RECOVR (Research for Effective COVID-19 Responses). The WWES Initiative combines data collection efforts, research projects, and policy work, focusing on two key themes: (1) women's work, entrepreneurship, and time use and (2) youth skilling and school-to-work transitions. The focus countries of this initiative are Kenya and Bangladesh. Our Request for Proposals will support piloting, data collection, analysis, dissemination, and policy engagement activities. This document outlines full details about the RFP, including the process and timeline, application materials (including the application form and budget template), and driving research questions. Any questions should be directed to the SME team.
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Research Resource
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December 15, 2020
English
Uruguay has increased its preschool enrollment, reaching almost universal coverage among four- and five-year-olds. However, more than a third of children enrolled in preschool programs have insufficient attendance, with absenteeism higher in schools in lower socioeconomic areas and among younger preschool children. This paper presents the results of a behavioral intervention to increase preschool attendance nationwide. Most previous experiments using behavioral sciences have looked at the impact of nudging parents on attendance and learning for school-age children; this is the first experiment looking at both attendance and child development for preschool children. It is also the first behavioral intervention to use a government mobile app to send messages to parents of preschool children. The intervention had no average treatment effect on attendance, but results ranged widely across groups. Attendance by children in the 25th 75th percentiles of absenteeism rose by 0.320.68 days over...
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Working Paper
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December 11, 2020
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IPA’s Peace & Recovery Program (P&R) supports field experiments and related research in several broad areas: Reducing violence and promoting peace Reducing “fragility” (i.e. fostering state capacity) Preventing, coping with, and recovering from crises, focusing on conflict but including non-conflict humanitarian crises such as COVID-19 This document covers the aims, core themes, research questions, and focus countries for our competitive research fund, supported by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), and the Open Society Foundations (OSF). Please send all inquiries to peace@poverty-action.org
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Type:
Report
Date:
December 02, 2020
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Markets for consumer financial services are growing rapidly in low and middle income countries and being transformed by digital technologies and platforms. With growth and change come concerns about protecting consumers from firm exploitation due to imperfect information and contracting as well as from their own decision-making limitations. We seek to bridge regulator and academic perspectives on these underlying sources of harm and five potential problems that can result: high and hidden prices, overindebtedness, post-contract exploitation, fraud, and discrimination. These potential problems span product markets old and new, and could impact micro- and macroeconomies alike. Yet there is little consensus on how to define, diagnose, or treat them. Evidence-based consumer financial protection will require substantial advances in theory and especially empirics, and we outline key areas for future research.
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Working Paper
Date:
December 01, 2020
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Researchers study the impact of money on households during the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020, Colombia rolled out a new unconditional cash transfer (UCT) to one million households in poverty worth $19 (PPP $55.6) and paid every 5-8 weeks. Using an RCT and linked administrative and survey data, they find the UCT had positive (albeit modest) effects on measures of household well-being (e.g., financial health, food access). Moreover, the UCT boosted support for emergency assistance to households and firms during the crisis and promoted social cooperation. Finally, they explore the bottlenecks in expanding mobile money during a pandemic.
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Working Paper
Date:
November 30, 2020
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Amidst the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the emerging economic recovery, cash transfers can provide timely lifelines and economic assistance to households in need. The Philippines government rapidly moved to institute a number of emergency assistance programs when the pandemic struck, including the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) launched in early April 2020. These programs have been able to help cushion Filipinos from immediate economic fallouts from lockdowns and slowed commercial activity. Understanding how Filipinos have fared over the past few months, and what challenges they continue to face, is critical for the government’s design and delivery of social assistance programs moving forward. IPA partnered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development to develop questions focused on employment and economic activity to help guide decisions and shape social assistance policies with data. The RECOVR survey, conducted from June 18-July 1, reached 1,389 respondents...
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Brief
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November 16, 2020
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To support government partners’ initiatives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, IPA launched the Research for Effective COVID-19 Responses (RECOVR) Survey, a rapid response panel survey it has conducted in nine countries including the Philippines. The RECOVR survey aims to directly inform key government partners on the health, economic, educational, and social ramifications of the pandemic. This brief summarizes and presents key education results from the RECOVR Philippines Survey (implemented June 18-July 1, 2020 that reached 1,389 respondents) to provide decision-makers of the Department of Education with rigorous evidence in support of the implementation of the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) and policy recommendations based on the results. Key policy questions to consider are: 1) how can policymakers ensure that children do not fall behind in their education, and 2) how can policymakers help students be engaged in distance learning?
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Brief
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November 16, 2020

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