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Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)

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New York Times

Writing for The New York Times, Prof. Amy Finkelstein makes the case that cash transfers can do more to help the poor than expanding health insurance. “Cash helps recipients directly, while health insurance would pay mainly for care that many uninsured people were already receiving at low or no cost,” writes Finkelstein.

New York Times

Prof. Esther Duflo speaks with Francesca Donner of The New York Times about her views on G.D.P., financial incentives, and how to encourage women to pursue careers in economics. “One of the mistakes made by economists in general was to agree collectively that G.D.P., and perhaps the stock market, is how we acknowledge success in a country,” says Duflo. “G.D.P. measures the value added in a country, but life is so much more than that.”

New York Times

Writing for The New York Times, Profs. Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo underscore the importance of helping other countries avoid a repeat of the coronavirus surge India is facing. “The world needs to look beyond India and avoid yet another mistake of timing,” they write. “We cannot afford to repeat the experience of the first wave, when we didn’t realize just how quickly a virus can travel. Neither should nations be lulled into a sense of false security by the progress of vaccination campaigns in the United States and Europe.”

Economist

The Economist spotlights the Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) Africa initiative, launched by J-PAL and Pratham (an NGO in India), which aims to help increase educational gains among students in Africa by offering a model of catch-up classes.   

New York Times

Writing for The New York Times, Prof. Amy Finkelstein emphasizes the effectiveness of randomized clinical trials. Finkelstein notes that she hopes “truly rigorous testing of social policy will become as commonplace as it is for new vaccines. That would help ensure that government services are delivered as effectively and efficiently as possible.”

National Public Radio (NPR)

Profs. Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee join NPR’s Planet Money for overrated or underrated, a game in which Banerjee and Duflo, winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, “rate everything from bread to foreign aid to dating an economist.”

Vox

A new working paper by MIT researchers details how the use of a universal basic income (UBI) helped people in Kenya with difficult economic situations, writes Kelsey Piper for Vox. The researchers found that the UBI provided “income benefits in good times and then stability benefits during bad times,” says Prof. Tavneet Suri.

BBC News

BBC reporter Dave Edmonds speaks to Prof. Esther Duflo, co-founder of J-PAL, about her use of field studies and randomized control trials to test the effectiveness of programs in developing countries. Duflo explains that by examining data from randomized control trials, “out of the noise emerges some kind of melody of the logic of behavior.”

U.S. News & World Report

In an article published by U.S. News & World Report, Jill Barshay writes about a new study by J-PAL researchers that examines the effectiveness of specific educational technologies. Vincent Quan of J-PAL North American explains that, “we wanted to find all the studies and distill the main lessons so that decision makers can decide which programs to scale up and invest in.”

Economist

The Economist highlights a study by J-PAL researchers examining the effectiveness of certain educational technologies. The researchers found that, “in nearly all the 41 studies which compared pupils using adaptive software with peers who were taught by conventional means the software-assisted branch got higher scores.”

CNBC

Writing for CNBC, Ali Montag highlights MIT’s MicroMasters programs and how they offer students around the world a new path to a graduate degree. Montag notes that passing students from the MicroMasters in data, economics and development policy, “are eligible to apply for a master's program on campus at MIT.”

Forbes

Forbes reporter Kevin Murnane writes about how MIT researchers have used a computer vision system to examine how several American cities physically improved or deteriorated over time. Murnane writes that the study “provides important support for nuanced versions of traditional theories about why urban neighborhoods change over time.”

WBUR

Prof. Esther Duflo speaks with WBUR’s Fred Thys about MIT’s MicroMasters in development economics. Thys explains that the new MicroMasters program allows students, “to take rigorous courses online for credit, and if they perform well on exams, to apply for a master's degree program on campus.”

United Press International (UPI)

UPI reporter Amy Wallace writes that MIT researchers have applied a computer vision system to help quantify the physical improvement of American neighborhoods. The researchers found that “density of highly educated residents, proximity to central business districts and other attractive areas, and the initial safety score assigned by the computer system are strongly related to improvements.”

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Jeremy Fox writes about a new study by MIT researchers examining whether math games can be beneficial in helping children learn. The researchers found that, “children who played math games consistently showed a better grasp of the concepts…but that understanding did not appear to help in elementary school.”