This post written by Supraja Parthasarathy (IFMR), Vasanthi Subramonia Pillai (IFMR), and Luisa Cefala (UC Berkeley) shares how the results from a phone-based survey in Chennai could inform policymaking on informal labor markets amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Credit: Labor stands in Chennai, India

Today, as you read this, the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic continues to rattle India — shattering the country’s capacity to cope with the disease. On 17th May, more than one year after a first, nation-wide lockdown, several Indian states — including the South-East state of Tamil Nadu — decided to implement a new lockdown.

While this was deemed necessary due to…

Findings from a qualitative study of mobile money usage among Savings and Credit Co-Operatives (SACCOs) sheds light on the potential benefits of digital final services in rural Rwanda, and persistent barriers to take-up.

In this post, CEGA Program Manager Sam Fishman interviews Mercyline Kamande (Mount Kenya University, Kigali) and Anna Kamanzi (UC Irvine), about their qualitative study in Rwanda. The project was supported by the Development Impact Lab (DIL), a USAID Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN) lab co-managed by CEGA.

Credit: CDD Mobile Money Research Team

Dr. Mercyline Kamande (Senior Lecturer at Mount Kenya University in Kigali) and Anna Kamanzi (PhD Candidate at UC Irvine) recently released the results of a qualitative study exploring uses of mobile money services among tea farmers and pickers in Rwanda. The study, conducted between February and August 2020 with support from the Development…

Why accelerating the adoption of open science practices can reduce political polarization around policy debates

This post was written by BITSS Project Scientist Fernando Hoces de la Guardia.

At left, an image from the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama’s on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. 2017. At right, the image of President Donald Trump’s inauguration. (Credit: National Park Service)

The emergence of “alternative facts” and post-truth politics is usually associated with the rise of populism in western democracies. While there is an element of truth to this association, democratic governments have struggled with estimating the expected costs and benefits of policy options even before the rise of new authoritarian trends. In other words, long before the emergence of alternative facts, we have allowed for multiple policy reports to co-exist, often representing vastly diverging “facts.” For example, in 2010 two reputable analysts made diverging claims about the…

CEGA Senior Program Associate Chelsea Downs and the Network of Impact Evaluation Researchers in Africa (NIERA) Program Manager Jennifer Nyakinya, recap the 2021 Africa Evidence Summit. This online event showcased policy-relevant insights on poverty alleviation in East and West Africa from leading African and US-based researchers; and connected policymakers, researchers, and practitioners to discuss inclusion in global development research. We are grateful for support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to host this event.

Photo: Panel on African Led Impact Evaluation at the 2021 Africa Evidence Summit which included Charles Amoatey, Constantine Manda, Jane Mariara, Annet Adong, and Ronald Mulebeke.

Over the past decade, CEGA’s East Africa Social Science Translation (EASST) Collaborative has linked early-career East African scholars, US-based scholars, and local policymakers to bolster…

Berber Kramer (Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI), Patrick Ward (Assistant Professor, Duke Kunshan University), and Subhransu Pattnaik (Research Analyst, IFPRI) discuss their joint work in India on gender and demand for digital loans for agriculture supported by a pilot grant from CEGA’s Digital Credit Observatory (DCO).

Photo: Women in Odisha watch the gender training video as part of their regular microfinance meeting. (Credit: Shashank Bhushan Das | Dvara E-Registry)

In the agricultural state of Odisha, we are studying a new credit model by Dvara E-Registry that issues loans based on georeferenced crop pictures and associated satellite imagery for a farmer’s plots. Agricultural credit is widespread in Odisha: in 2017–18, farmers jointly borrowed USD 2.07 billion for agricultural purposes. …

Researchers are applying insights from psychology and economics to address important questions related to global poverty

This post was written by CEGA Program Manager for Health & Psychology Kristina Hallez.

Credit: Tarikul Raana / Unsplash

In a Fall 2020 funding round, CEGA’s Psychology and Economics of Poverty Initiative (PEP) awarded small grants ($5–25K) to nine new projects exploring the impact of poverty on psychological mechanisms that have downstream consequences for human health and well-being. Funded projects employ a range of methods, including in-home audio recordings, SMS messaging, lab-in-the-field exercises, and more. Some of these new projects delve into the effects of different cultural settings or prolonged shocks (like the COVID-19 pandemic) on child development and language acquisition; others explore the psychological…

An interview with CEGA affiliated faculty Tamma Carleton

How will future temperature increases caused by climate change impact global human health? — Examining the first globally comprehensive and empirically grounded estimates.

Photo: Corn farmer Kela Gelo in the village of Buya near Yabello, Southern Ethiopia. He only got a few ears this year because of the drought. (Credit: Peter Essick / Cavan)

In honor of Earth Day last week, we are highlighting research led by CEGA affiliated faculty Tamma Carleton (UC Santa Barbara), estimating the mortality risk due to future temperature increases caused by climate change. By accounting for an often-overlooked factor — the costs and benefits of climate adaptation efforts — Carleton, CEGA affiliated faculty Sol Hsiang (UC Berkeley), and co-authors are transforming our understanding of how climate change will impact real lives. Their research is one way…

An interview with Megan Becker, University of Southern California

This post, written by BITSS Senior Associate Aleksandar Bogdanoski, is cross-posted to the BITSS Blog.


Replication — the process by which independent researchers duplicate studies to “stress-test” their findings — is key to ensuring that science is self-correcting. Without it, researchers can make mistakes or — worse yet — manipulate their results in ways that could be harmful for policy. The Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS), CEGA’s flagship transparency initiative, works to increase the reproducibility of social science research by building capacity and making relevant resources widely available. …

This post, written by CEGA Affiliate and Professor of Public Policy at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Manisha Shah, was originally published on The Conversation. This project received funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation through CEGA’s Behavioral Economics in Reproductive Health Initiative (BERI).

Photo: Young women at an ELA club in Tanzania. (Credit: Alison Wright / BRAC)

Being an adolescent anywhere is challenging. This is particularly true in sub-Saharan Africa, where adolescents have some of the world’s highest rates of HIV infection, unintended teenage pregnancy, and intimate partner violence.

In Tanzania, for instance, around 60% of teen girls are sexually active by 18. Less than 10% of girls aged 15…

This post was written by Anya Marchenko (CEGA) and Han Sheng Chia (GiveDirectly), both of whom contribute to CEGA’s Targeting Aid Better initiative.


In this blog, we propose a new paradigm for delivering social protections, which we call MobileAid. This approach combines (1) machine learning-based targeting with (2) recipient self-enrollment and (3) contactless delivery via mobile money. We discuss the lessons learned from deploying MobileAid in Togo, and describe how governments and NGOs can use MobileAid to complement their existing social protection systems.


The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed an estimated 124 million people into extreme poverty globally, the first increase…

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