EPoD News

Could a smartphone app give Pakistan the push it needs to be polio-free?

Could a smartphone app give Pakistan the push it needs to be polio-free?

June 22, 2016

By Shehryar Nabi - Dawn

Despite being closer than they have ever been to reaching their polio-free goal, the government's campaigns still have some problems: areas are often missed by health workers and unvaccinated children continue to fall through the cracks. [...] Researchers from UC San Diego, Harvard, University of Southern California and UC Berkley pitched an initiative to the Punjab government with an aim to understand health worker behaviour.

Caught in the middle

Caught in the middle

June 4, 2016

The Economist

Big and tiny firms often find it easier to borrow than medium-sized ones [...] The Entrepreneurial Finance Lab, a spin-off from a research initiative at Harvard University, is trying out psychometric testing as a way of assessing credit risk. Would-be borrowers complete a short online survey and the software quickly generates an alternative credit score, based on attributes like conscientiousness and confidence. “We want to collateralise people’s human capital,” says Asim Khwaja, a Harvard professor and co-founder of the project.

How to Prevent a Disaster for Children in Developing Countries

How to Prevent a Disaster for Children in Developing Countries

May 6, 2016

By Doug Gavel - Harvard Kennedy School

The disruption and harm caused by global climate change is expected to be even more pronounced in developing countries, and children in those countries could face myriad risks, but there are actions that can be taken now to reduce those risks.  A new paper authored by Rema Hanna identifies several possible policy solutions that can ameliorate the impact of climate change on the health and safety of children living in poor countries

Building the evidence base for developing countries: An example from the effect of pollution on infant health in Mexico

Building the evidence base for developing countries: An example from the effect of pollution on infant health in Mexico

April 16, 2016

By Eva Arceo, Rema Hanna, Paulina Oliva - VOX

Pollution levels are orders of magnitude higher in lower-income countries than in the developed world. This means that studies of the health effects of pollution based on data from the latter will not necessarily be relevant to the former. This column reports on the effect of air pollution on infant mortality in Mexico City. Significant effects are found that are much larger than found in earlier work based on US data, highlighting the potential pitfalls of extrapolating findings from high-income to developing countries.

How To Get India’s Women Working? First, Let Them Out Of The House

How To Get India’s Women Working? First, Let Them Out Of The House

April 9, 2016

By Rohini Pande, Jennifer Johnson, and Eric Dodge - IndiaSpend

India boasts superior rates of women serving in political office compared to other emerging economies: the nation just swore in its 16th female Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti. Yet it lags well behind its competitors in its rate of women’s labour force participation. There is surprisingly little data to answer why. But one reason stands out: women can’t get to work.

Asking the right question to get the right policy

Asking the right question to get the right policy

April 4, 2016

By Eric Dodge, Charity Troyer Moore, and Rohini Pande - Ideas for India

There is consensus in the development community on the importance of bridging the gap between researchers and practitioners; however, misaligned incentives underlie this gap. In this article, Pande, Moore and Dodge of Harvard Kennedy School, explain how bringing policymakers together with researchers to work more iteratively ensured that data from MGNREGA - the world’s largest public works programme - became accessible and relevant to those who use it.

How doorstep banking increased savings and income in Sri Lanka

How doorstep banking increased savings and income in Sri Lanka

March 30, 2016

By Michael Callen, Suresh de Mel, Craig McIntosh, and Christopher Woodruff - Ideas For India

Recent findings in development economics indicate that microloans are likely to perform best when accompanied by financial education, insurance, and savings products. This column presents evidence from an experiment in Sri Lanka, which involved offering saving accounts with door-to-door deposit collection services to otherwise unbanked rural households. It suggests that the programme incentivised participants to increase savings by increasing their income.

The Surprising Reason Why Savings Boosts Income: New Research Reveals an Unexpected Benefit of Financial Inclusion

The Surprising Reason Why Savings Boosts Income: New Research Reveals an Unexpected Benefit of Financial Inclusion

March 16, 2016

By V. McIntyre - NextBillion

Make it easier to save, and people will save more and earn more. This sounds a little more surprising, especially if you posit that this increase in income will happen almost immediately. But researchers in Kenya, Nepal and Sri Lanka have revealed that given a savings account, poor customers do save, earn and consume more. And they do that quicker than we would expect them to.

Big Data Isn’t Enough

Big Data Isn’t Enough

March 14, 2016

By Michael Fryar - Inclusion Hub

Researchers love talking about their data and methods as a “toolbox." With the rise of big data, they’ve got a fancy new tool. It’s important to remember, however, that the reason for carrying a toolbox is that there are very few projects where just one tool — no matter how powerful — is sufficient to get the job done.