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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People often report wanting to save more money than they actually do, and rigorous evidence has shown that simple reminders to save can be effective at helping people save more. Researchers working with IPA carried out evaluations in Ghana, Peru, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic to build the evidence base about text-message reminders to save. In the Philippines, the research team worked with BanKO to evaluate the impact of behaviorally targeted text messages on savings behavior.

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People often report wanting to save more money than they actually do, and rigorous evidence has shown that simple reminders to save can be effective at helping people save more. Researchers working with IPA carried out evaluations in Ghana, Peru, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic to build the evidence base about text-message reminders to save.

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People often report wanting to save more money than they actually do, and rigorous evidence has shown that simple reminders to save can be effective at helping people save more. Researchers working with IPA carried out evaluations in Ghana, Peru, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic to build the evidence base about text-message reminders to save. In Ghana, the research team worked with Fidelity Bank to evaluate the impact of behaviorally targeted text messages on savings behavior.

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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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Household food security, defined as stable access to sufficient and nutritious food, is critical in the early years to meet a child’s developmental needs.

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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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More than 1 million Syrian children live in Turkey as of 2020, and many Turkish residents worry about increased peer violence and social segregation in schools that serve these students. Researchers partnered with the Ministry of Education in Turkey to conduct a randomized evaluation of Understanding Each Other, a program which aims to foster social cohesion through perspective-taking activities that encourage students to consider others’ perspectives.

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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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The government of Sierra Leone’s post-Ebola health system strengthening efforts have been compromised by a lack of accurate data on the services that are provided and how often. Researchers measured the accuracy of health records in clinics by comparing actual immunizations given to children to administrative clinic records.

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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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Public-private partnerships to provide education in low-income countries are common, yet controversial. In Liberia, researchers worked with IPA, the Ministry of Education, and a set of eight private operators to conduct a randomized evaluation that measured the impact of 93 partnership schools—free public schools with management outsourced to private operators.

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A Ugandan youth working on a bicycle
In developing countries with high unemployment, cash grants can provide poor people with the capital to invest in small enterprises. If people are not too constrained in their ability to earn and save, grants will simply offer a kick start to higher work and income levels, levels they would have some years later even without the grants. If it is difficult to save or accumulate assets, however, one-time investments could propel people out of poverty permanently. Which is it?
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Cox's Bazar intervention

Despite the scale and persistence of forced displacement, little data and evidence exists to inform long-term policy responses. The arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees in southern Bangladesh beginning in August 2017 poses a significant policy question: how to integrate refugees into the host economy while simultaneously maintaining or improving the wellbeing of nationals.

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SME manufacturing

Startups in developing countries tend to grow more slowly on average than those in high-income countries, but the reasons why are not well understood. Researchers analyzed data on all manufacturers with more than 10 employees in Colombia and the U.S. over a period of 30 years to compare employment growth among manufacturers in each country.

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Uganda has made substantial advancements in financial consumer protection policy in recent years but understanding whether and how the financial sector complies with these new regulations can be a challenge.

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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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Social networks are often seen as a cost-effective way to disseminate information, but there is lack of evidence to inform who to give information to within a network to best reach others within the community. Researchers conducted a randomized evaluation in Mali to study the role of giving information to different people within a network in the spread of that information.

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