How does an employment and training program compare, in impacts and cost, to just giving people cash?

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Technology adoption often requires investments over time.  As farmers realize new information about the costs and benefits of investments, they may abandon the newly adopted technology shortly after. Researchers partnered with the non-governmental organization Shared Value Africa and Dunavant Cotton Ltd to investigate the effects of subsidies and follow-through rewards on the adoption of an agroforestry tree species.

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Workers and employers in rural villages in low- to middle-income countries often lack a centralized place to look for or post jobs, which leads to high job search costs, incomplete information, and consequently, a wide pay-range for similar work.

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Ghana, like many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, has greatly expanded access to primary school in the last two decades, but very few children meet academic standards for their grade.

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Digitizing government cash transfers may boost usage of formal financial services among vulnerable households and women’s economic empowerment, but poor delivery of these digital transfers could increase the risks that beneficiaries face. In this project, IPA is partnering with Aspire to Innovate (a2i), in Bangladesh to understand how beneficiaries, particularly women, are notified of and receive their payments.

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Repeated borrowing from moneylenders at high interest rates is common across many low-income communities. Researchers evaluated whether offering market vendors cash grants to pay off existing debt and financial training influenced future borrowing behavior. While market vendors were less likely to borrow and borrowed in smaller amounts in the short-term, most returned to debt within six weeks.

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Use of digital finance products including mobile money, mobile banking, and digital credit has expanded in Kenya in recent years, but poor user experience with these products can reduce consumer welfare and impact use of these services. Kenya is a global leader in digital financial services usage with 79 percent of adults using mobile money, predominantly on the M-Pesa platform. Eight percent of mobile money users in Kenya have lost funds—primarily due to third-party fraud.

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Chronic severe air pollution in Bogotá, Colombia has serious human health impacts. Using information and communication technologies (ICTs) to disseminate information about air quality may enable citizens to reduce their exposure to air pollution by, for example, avoiding outdoor exercise on certain days an in certain locations, and may also help change their environmental attitudes and policy preferences.

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The effectiveness of COVID-19 mitigation recommendations like social distancing and mask wearing depends critically on whether people comply with them, especially young adults who are less likely to suffer severe complications from the virus, but more likely to be infected by it and spread it.

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Despite global efforts to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality, the availability and utilization of maternal and child health care remains low in many low-income contexts, especially those marked by ongoing conflict and civil unrest.

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Rural to urban migration is an integral component of economic development, but there is limited evidence on the decision to migrate and little evidence on how emigration affects rural labor markets.

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Low-capacity governments can face challenges in collecting the tax revenues necessary to promote economic development and provide public goods to their citizens. In partnership with Melchia Investments, a private Ghanaian technology company, researchers are conducting a pilot randomized evaluation to identify the effectiveness of a new tax collection technology in increasing property tax revenues for local governments.

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When people have formal rights to their land, are they more likely to invest in it? Do changes in land tenure affect gender equality in the household?

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Public insecurity and widespread mistrust of police among citizens is associated with decreased police legitimacy, which has negative consequences for effective policing. Research has demonstrated that when police officers interact with citizens following principles of procedural justice, citizens leave those interactions—even contentious ones—with an increased perception of trust in the police, which enhances legitimacy and efficacy.

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Digital credit in Kenya has become a tool for households and small businesses to manage their day-to-day expenses, but concerns have been raised regarding rising household debt levels and defaults.  In this project, IPA will collaborate with the Digital Lenders Association of Kenya (DLAK) to analyze credit data with a new information sharing system and measure the system’s effects on issues such as multiple lending, loan screening, and defaults.

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The global spread of COVID-19 and associated shelter-in-place orders have increased economic stress and intimate partner violence (IPV).[1] To tackle this challenge, researchers have partnered in Colombia with IPA, Fundación Capital and Comfama to evaluate the impact of an interactive WhatsApp

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Cash assistance in emergency settings has been shown to assist recipients in mitigating resulting economic fallout, for example through increased food security. The VAT Compensation, a new unconditional cash transfer in Colombia, assists 1 million low-income households in navigating the economic crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Community-based approaches to development, also called community-driven development (CDD), seek to empower local communities to identify and implement the projects they most need. Researchers in this study in the Philippines are evaluating the impact of a national community-driven development program on governance, social capital, and socio-economic welfare.

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Forcibly displaced people often live in overcrowded camps in countries with struggling health systems, making this population highly vulnerable to COVID‐19. In the Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh, where large numbers of Rohingya refugees have settled in recent years after fleeing Myanmar, researchers worked with IPA to administer a phone-based survey to households in both refugee camps and nearby host communities.

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Saving for the future tends to be particularly challenging in developing country contexts, where many people lack access to formal saving tools. Researchers partnered with a tea company in Malawi to study the effects of a savings product that allowed workers to defer payment of a part of their wages. The deferred wages program was generally popular and increased savings; in the longer run, it helped workers improve their houses.

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