Encouraging citizens to apply pressure on underperforming service providers has emerged in recent years as a prominent response to the failure of states to provide needed services. We outline three theoretical mechanisms through which bottom-up citizen-oriented pressure campaigns may affect development outcomes and investigate them via a large-scale field experiment in the Ugandan health sector. While we find modest positive impacts on treatment quality and patient satisfaction, we find no effects on utilization rates, child mortality, or other health outcomes. We also find no evidence that citizens increased their monitoring or sanctioning of health workers. Our findings, therefore, cast doubt on the power of outside actors to generate bottom-up pressure by citizens or improvements in development outcomes. Held up against the findings of other, similar studies, our results point to the salience of mechanisms other than citizen pressure for improvements in service delivery, and to the...
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Working Paper
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October 30, 2020
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For those seeking to measure financial health in a quick and simple way, we recommend applying only the Access-to-Funds module of the questionnaire. The questions in our recommended Access-to-Funds module are identical to the 2020 Global Findex’s resilience questions in order to promote standardization in data collection across the sector. This alignment creates the added benefit of being able to leverage other data from the Global Findex database. Our work also attempted to identify the most important questions from the remaining two sections, Financial Behavior and Access-to-Finance, to add to a longer version of a financial health survey instrument. Our analysis showed that particularly in the Financial Behavior section, none of the questions could be identified as clear winners across the multiple settings in which they were tested. For those wishing to use a longer version of our instrument to capture data on Financial Behavior and Access-to-Finance questions in addition to the A...
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Research Resource
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October 23, 2020
Spanish
En muchas ciudades del mundo, los grupos de crimen organizado representan una amenaza creciente para la paz y el desarrollo. Con el objetivo de comprender el funcionamiento de los grupos de crimen organizado de Medellín y evaluar intervenciones de política pública dirigidas a reducir el gobierno criminal ejercido por ellos, los investigadores realizaron diversas entrevistas, una encuesta y dos evaluaciones de impacto. Este documento resume los principales hallazgos.  
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Brief
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October 21, 2020
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Objectives: Disrespectful and poor treatment of newborns such as unnecessary separation from parents or failure to obtain parental consent for medical procedures occurs at health facilities across contexts, but little research has investigated the prevalence, risk factors, or associated outcomes. This study aimed to examine these practices and associations with health care satisfaction, use, and breastfeeding. Design: Prospective cohort study Setting: Health facilities in Nairobi and Kiambu counties in Kenya Participants: Data were collected from women who delivered in health facilities between September 2019 and January 2020. The sample included 1,014 women surveyed at baseline and at least one follow-up at 2-4 or 10 weeks postpartum. Primary and secondary outcome measures: 1) Outcomes related to satisfaction with care and care utilization, 2) Continuation of post-discharge newborn care practices such as breastfeeding. Results: 17.6% of women reported being separated from their newbor...
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Published Paper
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October 21, 2020
Spanish
La contaminación atmosférica crónica en Bogotá, Colombia, tiene graves impactos en la salud humana. El uso de tecnologías de la información y la comunicación (TIC) para difundir información sobre la calidad del aire puede permitir a los ciudadanos reducir su exposición a la contaminación del aire, por ejemplo, evitando que las personas hagan ejercicio al aire libre en ciertos días y en ciertos lugares donde la calidad del aire no es buena, y también puede ayudar a cambiar sus actitudes ambientales y preferencias de política. Para investigar estos vínculos, investigadores del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo se han asociado con IPA y el Laboratorio de Economía Experimental y del Comportamiento del Rosario (REBEL) para evaluar el impacto de la información sobre la calidad del aire, difundida a través de una aplicación para teléfonos inteligentes llamada AIRE BOGOTÁ, en: los comportamientos de evitación, las actitudes ambientales y las preferencias políticas.
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Brief
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October 19, 2020
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Objective: To understand perspectives and experiences related to participation in a quality improvement collaborative (QIC) to improve person-centered care (PCC) for maternal health and family planning (FP) in Kenya. Design and setting: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with members of the QIC in four public health facilities in Kenya. Participants: Clinical and nonclinical public health facility staff who had participated in the QIC were purposively sampled to participate in the semi-structured interviews. Intervention: A QIC was implemented across four public health facilities in Nairobi and Kiambu Counties in Kenya to improve PCC experiences for women seeking maternity or FP services. Main outcome measure: Semi-structured interviews with participants of the QIC to understand perspectives and experiences associated with sensitization to and implementation of PCC behaviors in maternity and FP services. Results: Respondents reported that sensitization to PCC princip...
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Published Paper
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October 15, 2020
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In Sierra Leone, we have continued our global tradition of rigorous, applicable research by building foundational research capacity and generating evidence to reduce poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Examples of our key research findings are outlined in this brief.
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October 09, 2020
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As of September 2020, the Syrian government had retaken control of the majority of Syria, leading to speculation about the end of the country’s civil war and sparking debates both within the region and beyond about whether Syrian refugees will return. While some regional governments have begun to take active steps to encourage such return, many in the international community believe that conditions in Syria remain unsuitable for return. Still, some have started to consider steps to aid refugees with going back.  Absent in these discussions though is the voice of Syrian refugees. Do refugees want to go back to Syria? And if so, when and how? What are the conditions that predict the return of refugees? With support from IPA’s Peace & Recovery Program, researchers from the Immigration Policy Lab (IPL) conducted a representative survey of 3,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon from August-October 2019 to learn about their return intentions.
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Brief
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September 25, 2020
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The expansion of social protection programs has an important role to play in pandemic response. Cash transfers are an especially promising avenue, as they are effective at improving a number of development outcomes. These include raising individuals’ incomes and asset ownership, improving their nutritional status and mental health, and lowering their risk of experiencing illness or intimate partner violence (IPV). Digital payments can offer the opportunity to distribute cash transfers in a manner compliant with social distancing.  How should policymakers decide what type of support to provide to vulnerable citizens during the pandemic, and which individuals should benefit? This policy brief outlines four key decisions in social protection program design. These choices relate to topics like determining funding requirements, selecting beneficiaries, and deciding whether beneficiaries should receive cash payments, digital payments, or in-kind transfers of food or other goods. Evidence c...
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Brief
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September 16, 2020
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IPA invites experienced research firms to submit proposals to deliver various research deliverables, including in-person stakeholder interviews, provide in-person support for a virtual human-centered design workshop, a quantitative survey, and to conduct supplemental qualitative research among women-owned MSMEs in Indonesia.  
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Research Resource
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September 15, 2020
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In collaboration with the Supreme Court of the Philippines and the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) Philippines is conducting a series of studies on the effect of judicial reforms on the efficiency of the lower trial courts. The three reforms under evaluation aim to reduce court case congestion through speedy and timely delivery of justice. Using quasi-experimental methods in each study, this research uses court and case level administrative data from court databases and from paper records, which have been digitized by the team, to measure court efficiency. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and global and Philippine government guidelines, IPA Philippines adjusted the qualitative research approach in order to mitigate the impact on the ongoing research and engagement with the Supreme Court. In compliance with strict quarantine measures and restrictions on travel and in-person meetings, we used video calling technology to conti...
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Phone Survey Methods Resource
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September 10, 2020
Spanish
La efectividad de las recomendaciones de mitigación de COVID-19, como el distanciamiento social y el uso de mascarillas, depende fundamentalmente del cumplimiento por parte de las personas, especialmente de los adultos jóvenes, quienes tienen menos probabilidades de sufrir complicaciones graves por el virus, pero más probabilidades de infectarse y propagarlo. En Colombia, los investigadores están trabajando junto con IPA para entender mejor el cumplimiento de las recomendaciones de mitigación del COVID-19 por parte de los adultos jóvenes y evaluar la efectividad de varias intervenciones informativas para impulsar su cumplimiento.
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Brief
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September 03, 2020
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IPA’s Peace & Recovery Program (P&R) is pleased to announce that it is now accepting proposals for research on violence and homicide in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), supported by a pending grant from the Open Society Foundations (OSF). This document details P&R’s new research focus, outlining the types of projects we support, our funding criteria, and the focus countries for the competitive fund supported by OSF. Funding for this theme is subject to and conditioned upon IPA receiving funding from OSF. This funding is shared with J-PAL’s Crime and Violence Initiative (CVI). Please direct all questions to peace@poverty-action.org.
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Report
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September 02, 2020
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We examine some effects of Universal Basic Income (UBI) during the COVID-19 pandemic using a large-scale experiment in rural Kenya. Transfers significantly improved well-being on common measures such as hunger, sickness and depression in spite of the pandemic, but with modest effect sizes. They may have had public health benefits, as they reduced hospital visits and decreased social (but not commercial) interactions that influence contagion rates. During the pandemic (and contemporaneous agricultural lean season) recipients lost the income gains from starting new non-agricultural enterprises that they had initially obtained, but also suffered smaller increases in hunger. This pattern is consistent with the idea that UBI induced recipients to take on more income risk in part by mitigating the most harmful consequences of adverse shocks.
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Working Paper
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September 02, 2020
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This document provides application instructions for the Peace & Recovery (P&R) Program's request for off-cycle proposals on homicide reduction in Latin America and the Caribbean. The application process contains the following templates for applicants to complete when submitting their applications: Template for Pilot and Full Study Proposals Template for Exploratory Grant Proposals Budget Template (to be used for both Pilot/Full Study and Exploratory Grant Proposals) For more information about this request for proposals, please see this overview document.
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Report
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September 01, 2020
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Innovations for Poverty Action’s Path-to-Scale Research (PSR) Program works to accelerate the process of moving evidence-based interventions from proof-of-concept to scalable and adaptable programs and policies. In contrast to innovation research that explores brand-new ideas for solving development problems, path-to-scale research begins with evidence-based approaches that have already shown promise in rigorous impact evaluations. PSR builds on these promising approaches by creating evidence on when, where, and why an approach is expected to work, and identifying ways to optimize program design and implementation at scale. PSR supports policymaker efforts to identify and incorporate the most effective interventions into programs and policies, resulting in better health outcomes, improved livelihoods, and less poverty. This document provides an overview of the PSR Program's Child Development and Growth (Stunting) Initiative. Learn more about this initiative here, and see the research a...
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Brief
Date:
September 01, 2020
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Innovations for Poverty Action’s Path-to-Scale Research (PSR) Program works to accelerate the process of moving evidence-based interventions from proof-of-concept to scalable and adaptable programs and policies. In contrast to innovation research that explores brand-new ideas for solving development problems, path-to-scale research begins with evidencebased approaches that have already shown promise in rigorous impact evaluations. Path-to-scale research builds on these promising approaches by creating evidence on when, where, and why an approach is expected to work, and identifying ways to optimize program design and implementation at scale. Path-to-scale research supports policymaker efforts to identify and incorporate the most effective interventions into programs and policies, resulting in better health outcomes, improved livelihoods, and less poverty. This document covers the research agenda of the PSR Program's Child Development and Growth (Stunting) Initiative. Learn more here.
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Brief
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September 01, 2020
English
In sub-Saharan Africa, wage jobs are rare, and a vast majority of young people are engaged in low-productivity occupations. Many governments attempt to upgrade traditional apprenticeships to help improve youth opportunities for productive employment. There is limited evidence on the direct and indirect effects of these formal apprenticeships. This study evaluated the impacts of an apprenticeship program subsidizing formal apprentices placed in firms and offering them theoretical training.
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Brief
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August 26, 2020
French
En Afrique subsaharienne, les emplois salariés sont rares, et une grande majorité de jeunes occupent des emplois à faible productivité. De nombreux gouvernements tentent de moderniser les apprentissages traditionnels pour aider à améliorer les opportunités d’emploi productif des jeunes. Il existe peu de données sur les effets directs et indirects de ces apprentissages formels. Cette étude a évalué les impacts d’un programme d’apprentissage subventionnant les apprentis formels placés dans les entreprises et leur offrant une formation théorique.
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Brief
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August 26, 2020
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Understanding how to keep vulnerable people safe from violence and trauma is critically important, yet violence research is fraught with challenges. IPA’s Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Initiative has been generating knowledge and solutions about how to reduce violence against women since 2016. This resource shares some strategies from the initiative on conducting responsible and ethical IPV research. 
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Research Resource
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August 20, 2020

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