Sports betting has emerged as one of the fastest growing forms of gambling, with new technologies facilitating its rapid spread into new markets in developing countries. What explains the persistent popularity of sports betting despite such a low rate of return from participation?

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In the wake of Covid-19, countries around the world have experienced an increase in reported cases of intimate partner violence (IPV). In partnership with the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations of Peru, researchers are evaluating a text-based campaign designed to help men regulate their emotions and reduce perpetration of IPV.

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Women are commonly underrepresented in the formal sector in low- and middle-income countries. Researchers introduced a recruitment drive for a firm in Malawi to evaluate the impact of referral-based hiring on women’s employment at the company. Results from the randomized evaluation indicate that men systematically referred fewer women, and women’s referral of other qualified women was not enough to offset men’s behavior.

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Access to quality jobs is a pressing concern in sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya, researchers partnered with the technology company Sama and Innovations for Poverty Action to conduct a randomized evaluation of Sama’s training and job referral programs. The training program provided youth from underserved communities with digital training, while the referral program provided trainees with a job referral to work with the company.

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In recent years, the ready-made garment sector in Bangladesh has experienced rapid growth. Overall, most of these new jobs have gone to women, yet few women have been hired as managers. Researchers randomly assigned co-supervisors to production lines to evaluate the impact of exposing garment factory workers and supervisors to women managers on factory productivity, supervisor retention, and attitudes toward women.
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An arial map of electrical power supply in Kenya

Over the past century, rural electrification has served as a key benchmark for economic development and social progress. Researchers conducted a randomized evaluation to measure the impact of offering subsidies to connect to the power grid on the demand for electricity in rural areas of Kenya. Few households took up the offer to connect to the grid, even at highly subsized prices.

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A patient receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria

As COVID-19 vaccination ramps up worldwide, understanding factors that may lead people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to reject COVID-19 vaccination is of global concern, as lags in vaccination could facilitate global spread of virus variants. Researchers surveyed nearly 45,000 individuals in 10 LMICs, the United States, and Russia between June 2020 and January 2021on vaccine acceptance and trusted sources for vaccination advice.

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Can public health interventions help ameliorate the negative effects of disasters? How do disasters affect individual decision-making about important health behaviors?  In Mozambique, researchers are leveraging an ongoing randomized evaluation to examine whether a community-level HIV/AIDS program with risk-coping components, such as Village Savings and Loan groups, helps people cope with the aftermath of Cyclone Idai and reduce disaster-induced deterioration of health decision-making.

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Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are severely limited by regulations outlawing formal work, in addition to movement restrictions that limit access to nearby informal work, potentially contributing to poor mental health outcomes. This randomized evaluation examined the effects of employment on psychosocial wellbeing and found that employment delivers significant psychosocial wellbeing, particularly among men.

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How do cash transfers support newly-designated vulnerable populations and informal workers during an economic crisis? To help answer these questions, researchers studied  the effect of Ingreso Solidario (Solidarity Income), a new unconditional cash transfer in Colombia that was launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Over a billion people worldwide, most of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa, lack electricity, and mainly rely on kerosene lanterns for light. Recently, prices for solar lanterns have been dropping and they may help supply clean, affordable lighting and phone charging to those who are not connected to the electric grid. Yet little rigorous evidence is available on how this new technology is being adopted and used and how it affects people’s lives.

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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 income 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? Researchers partnered with a large payday lender in Indiana to conduct an evaluation to better understand consumers’ decision-making.

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Deforestation is the second largest human source of carbon dioxide emissions. Mexico has a "payments for ecosystem services" (PES) program to provide economic incentives to landowners to minimize deforestation, but budget cuts have been recurring over the past years. Researchers are conducting a pilot study in one municipality of Selva Lacandona (Chiapas)  to find ways to improve the cost-effectiveness of the program.

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 Online job search platforms are increasingly common. However, there are still open questions on how to best design these platforms to improve job matching and employment. Researchers in Bangladesh partnered with a large online job search platform to evaluate the impact of increasing application time costs on applicant quality and employee retention.

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Stunted growth in childhood can have long-term effects on cognitive development, school achievement, economic productivity in adulthood, among others. Addressing this in the early years has proved to be the best way to combat undernutrition, but families often lack adequate information about good feeding practices.

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One way that farmers can improve their income and livelihoods is to transition from subsistence farming to market-driven, commercial agriculture in which output is sold into value chains.  However, smallholder farmers typically do not sell their output to buyers in value chains, and one of the reasons is because their output often does not meet the required quality standards.

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What’s the impact of digital credit on micro, small and medium enterprises? Are there differential effects on enterprises owned by women? If so, why?

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In rural Bangladesh, women living in extreme poverty face barriers to engaging in work that provides higher returns, such as livestock rearing. Researchers partnered with BRAC to evaluate their multi-faceted livelihood program known as the Graduation Approach, which aims to encourage occupational change among these women.

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A cocoa farmer in Sierra Leone

The amount of competition between intermediaries in agricultural markets has a large role in determining prices but can be very hard to measure. Where formal financial institutions are absent, intermediary traders often serve as a substitute source of credit for farmers.

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The use of military forces for public security tasks has become a common approach to combat crime and insecurity. Advocates of these “mano dura” (iron fist) policies view them as necessary to control crime, while detractors claim they undermine human rights. In Cali, Colombia, researchers conducted a randomized evaluation of a military policing program called “Plan Fortaleza” to rigorously measure the impacts of military policing on crime rates and human rights.

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