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, will assist 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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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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Many countries have struggled to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis in a way that provides for refugees’ human needs and ensures cohesive integration into host communities. Though many policies and programs focus on immediate aid and short-term goals, individual refugee recovery and the stability of host communities is best observed on a longer time horizon.

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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.

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Globally, irregular migration and human trafficking have reached crisis proportions in fragile and conflict-affected states. In Nigeria, the combination of ongoing, low-intensity conflict, a large youth population, and limited economic opportunities has led to high levels of irregular migrants seeking to make the dangerous journey to Europe. There is little evidence on how individuals weigh the risks and benefits of migration, and how information campaigns influence decisions to migrate.

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Recent evidence has pointed to the importance of socio-emotional skills development for improving business outcomes and for helping to close the gender gap between male- and female-owned small businesses.

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As the largest host country for Syrian refugees, Turkey has developed many policies to facilitate integration of refugees into host communities. Yet, Syrian refugee children still face social exclusion and violence at school. Researchers are introducing a program that teaches students perspective-taking to evaluate the impact of the curriculum on students’ social behavior.

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Recent studies have shown that a psychology-based entrepreneurial mindset training can have promising effects on business outcomes, but there is little evidence on how to improve the financial sustainability of these programs. Researchers are evaluating the effects of an entrepreneurial mindset training paired with business training on firm outcomes for female entrepreneurs in Mexico.

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During the last few decades, there has been an increase in the number of children raised by their grandparents in the Northern Triangle in Central America—Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador—in response to family crises, poverty, disease epidemics, and migration. Many of these children are facing emotional and behavioral problems, complete fewer years of schooling, and have more problems related to school and learning.

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Fragile and conflict-affected states with weak government presence offer a fertile ground for armed and terrorist organizations to impose their own governing structures.  In these settings, it remains unclear whether economic or personal motivations are larger drivers of individual participation in violent groups.

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Recent studies have shown that a psychology-based entrepreneurial mindset training can have promising effects on business outcomes. In Ecuador, researchers are evaluating whether these skills can be taught at scale and online by testing the effects of an entrepreneurial mindset training program on youth education and employment outcomes. They are also investigating if and how the effects change when the program is paired with mentoring.   

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Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a widespread global problem, but little is known about how to reduce it in low-income countries, especially with programs that focus on men. Researchers worked with IPA, the Airbel Center at the International Rescue Committee, and the Behavioral Insights Team to design a text message-based behavioral intervention, the Modern Man Challenge, that aims to reduce IPV by promoting behavior change among men.

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Exposure to violence, conflict, and other traumatic life events can have harmful effects on the economic, human, and social capital of individuals and their communities. Entrepreneurship and business skills training curricula have been commonly adopted as an approach for promoting socio-economic inclusion in fragile settings.

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Payday loans—small short-term loans with high interest rates that become due at the time of the borrower’s next paycheck—are a common form of lending to people with low incomes in the United States. Do borrowers taking out these loans make rational decisions, or do they borrow more than they expect or would like to in the long run?

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In recent years, education systems in Latin America have significantly increased coverage for children in primary school. However, challenges related to early childhood education remain. In Uruguay, student absenteeism at preschool is high in comparison to primary school, and this may be due in part to parents undervaluing preschool education.

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Early educational experiences have been found to have a positive effect on students’ choice of math and science courses in later learning as well as their career aspirations. In Colombia, researchers are conducting a randomized evaluation to test the impact of an interactive multimedia preschool program on the math and science skills of children and the gender and racial stereotypes and beliefs of children, educators, and parents.

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Exposure to violence in childhood and adolescence is associated with adverse health and socio-economic outcomes. School is one of the most common settings where children and adolescents may experience violence; and in some countries, school staff may be one of the most common perpetrators of violence against children. Levels of violence may be higher in humanitarian settings, where people are displaced and teachers and children may have recent histories of trauma.

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