A large and growing segment of the Bangladesh population are digital financial service users, yet little has been done to investigate the range and prevalence of consumer protection issues that occur with these services such as fraud, hidden fees, and ineffective complaints mechanisms. In other markets, evidence suggests some customer segments, for example women and lower income customers, may experience these issues at higher rates than the population at large.
The opening of Nigeria’s mobile money system to non-banks and new mobile banking products from commercial banks presents the potential for digital finance to take off in the country. To maximize the benefits of digital inclusion, expansion of use should occur alongside sufficient consumer protection policies and responsible product design.
Vocational education programs are a popular strategy aimed at improving labor market outcomes for youth, but there is mixed evidence about their actual benefits. Researchers evaluated the impact of admission to one of Mongolia’s formal vocational training programs on students’ educational attainment, employment, and earnings. Admission led to higher educational attainment and employment for applicants, especially for women, and increased earnings for women.
How can community-oriented policing practices be implemented in a way that sustainably increases trust in the police and reduces crime in areas where state legitimacy is low? In the Philippines, researchers examined the effects of a community policing program on attitudes towards the police and public safety outcomes. The intervention combined community engagement with problem-oriented policing.
Evidence suggests that socio-emotional skills, such as empathy and emotional regulation, play an important role in life outcomes, but little evidence exists on the impact of teaching these skills to very young children. In Colombia, researchers are evaluating how an early childhood curriculum with a socio-emotional focus impacts children’s competencies in empathy, inclusion, compassion, problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration, emotional regulation, generosity, and advocating and car
Effective engagement with religious leaders to persuade them to encourage compliance with health measures could be critical in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, especially since religious gatherings carry a high risk of infection.
In Myanmar, a large proportion of the population is rural and their main livelihood is agriculture. However, according to a survey conducted by IPA, more than half of rural families are landless and women particularly face many obstacles to accessing land. Researchers partnered with Landesa, a nonprofit, and the Government of Myanmar, to measure the impact of a land allocation program on food security, decision making, land ownership, and women’s land rights.
Lack of access to finance limits small business growth—a problem that is exacerbated for Muslim business-owners, many of whom do not take out traditional loans for religious reasons. Innovations for Poverty Action supported research in Pakistan on a lease-based product that features more flexible repayment schedules, allows businesses to share risk with a large microfinance institution, and complies with local Islamic financial norms.
The transition from school to the labor market is a crucial step in the life of young people. Yet youth unemployment is much higher than that of adults in many countries around the world, including Rwanda. Challenges include a mismatch in skills paired with difficulties for young job seekers to signal their motivation and productivity to potential employers.
Since March 2020, a team of researchers1 has been providing technical assistance to the Government of Togo to help guide their humanitarian response to the COVID-19 crisis. This page provides a short, non-technical summary of those efforts.
To meet their saving goals, farmers often rely on informal saving mechanisms and commitment devices. But how much do farmers value these saving services? In partnership with a local dairy cooperative, researchers utilized a combination of evaluations and surveys to measure dairy farmers’ responses to various price and timing incentives.
Without special attention to creating economic opportunities for ex-combatants, they may be more likely to join rebellious groups, commit crime, and otherwise threaten political stability. In Liberia, researchers tested the effect of an intensive agricultural training program that also provided agricultural supplies and psychosocial counseling on employment activities, income, and socio-political integration.
A body of research supports cash transfers as a way to improve the lives of vulnerable and poor populations, but few studies have examined how the impacts change over time. In addition, poor rural households face institutional and market obstacles, and transfers alone may not be enough to overcome these barriers.
Host populations often believe they are negatively affected by refugees, but little is known about what kinds of assistance might foster positive relations and reduce tension. To address this, researchers are conducting a randomized evaluation in Uganda to measure the impact of programs supporting microenterprises on economic and social outcomes, including support for hosting more refugees and allowing them to work.
The capacity of states to effectively allocate resources and serve the public good depends on the quantity and quality of information they have. This information is often collected through decentralized processes and requests to other public or private entities. But what happens when these entities do not respond? In Colombia, IPA worked with the Inspector Attorney General’s Office (PGN) to implement a low-cost strategy for collecting more and better information about transparency practices.
Can redesigning pension statements increase the understanding of key facts related to the pension system and improve coverage? Researchers in Colombia partnered with Colpensiones, Colombia’s public pension fund administrator, to test the effect of redesigning pension statements on the beneficiaries' understanding of the information presented and the identification of potential errors in their statements.
Displaced people and communities who have fled conflict depend heavily on external aid to meet their basic needs, but too little empirical evidence exists on the effectiveness of humanitarian assistance. To date, most humanitarian assistance has been provided in kind, but there has been a trend in the past 10 to 20 years towards the use of cash-based modalities such as vouchers, e-transfers, and direct cash transfers.
The civil war in Syria caused large-scale forced displacement, both within Syria and to neighboring countries. What factors determine whether Syrians return home? With support from IPA’s Peace & Recovery Program, researchers from the Immigration Policy Lab conducted a representative survey of over 3,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon from August-October 2019 to learn about their return intentions.
In Myanmar, land disputes are common as many citizens lack formal documentation to prove their land ownership, and refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are unable to demonstrate continuous occupancy of their land. To identify effective ways to address this issue, researchers conducted a pilot evaluation of a community-based dispute resolution (CBDR) program, testing the feasibility of implementing the intervention at a larger scale.
As migration patterns change, further evidence of the impact of regulatory programs in developing countries is needed. In Colombia, researchers are evaluating the impact of a temporary working and residence permit program for Venezuelan migrants. Outcomes to be studied include labor indicators, health and integration measures.