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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Mobile financial services have become the main channel of financial inclusion, especially in low-income countries. However, consumer protection failures in the sector remain common. In Uganda, researchers partnered with the Uganda Communications Commission to conduct a phone-based survey among 1,000 users of mobile financial services to inquire about their experiences.

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Intrapartum and postpartum care are essential to the health and well-being of mothers, infants, and families. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, resources have shifted away from providing preventative services for mothers and newborns.

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Burkina Faso has a strong history of peaceful coexistence among ethnic and religious groups, but in recent years has seen a rise of organized violence by Islamic extremists and a fracturing of social cohesion, particularly in rural areas. This pilot study assesses the effectiveness of a school-based peace and dialogue curriculum to strengthen social trust, resolve disputes non-violently, discourage radicalization, and rebuild communal norms of tolerance among youth.

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Maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality are persistent challenges despite increasing rates of deliveries within health care facilities over the last decade. Especially in low-resource contexts, improving infrastructure in facilities through access to reliable electricity may enable healthcare workers to provide higher-quality obstetric and newborn care.

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The Covid-19 pandemic led to unprecedented extended school closures around the globe. Ghana’s schools were closed from March 2020 through January 2021. Remote learning was introduced to ensure children continue learning while schools were closed. Equitable access to education is difficult to maintain during remote learning and may increase inequalities by child gender and household backgrounds.

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Social Media apps on a phone - via dole777 on Unsplash

As financial services digitize, more consumers are bringing their experiences online as well, using social media channels like Facebook and Twitter to raise concerns and issues with specific products or services. Social media data could shed new light into the issues that affect digital consumers and how providers are responding to these complaints.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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