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The Yale Research Initiative on Innovation and Scale (Y-RISE) advances research on the effects of policy interventions when delivered at scale. While evaluation techniques for pilot-scale programs are well developed, complexities arise when we contemplate scaling up interventions to create policy change.

Y-RISE identifies and tests promising policy interventions and, as they grow, conducts research on the challenges and implications of scale. We are organized around five research networks on the spillover effects, political economy reactions, and Macro/Growth and Welfare implications of policy interventions, external validity of trial results, and the capacity and demand for policy implementation.

In partnership with NGOs and governments, Y-RISE researchers progressively grow successful programs, devising and employing new techniques to measure the changes induced by scale. Y-RISE produces scholarship, guidance for policymakers, and in the process, facilitates large-scale implementation of tested programs.  A prime example of our work is the No Lean Season program on seasonal migration, developed by Y-RISE Faculty Director Mushfiq Mobarak.


Challenges and Implications of Scale

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Large-scale programs change the behavior of government, political leaders and constituents


Can we scale with confidence that programs will work in a different time and place?


Indirect Effects of interventions on Non-Beneficiaries


Large-scale programs affect growth and the macroeconomy


Policy Implementation and Institutional Capacity


Generating policy demand, and delivering at scale

No Lean Season

Six hundred million people suffer from seasonal deprivation. Can a $20 migration subsidy for individuals to travel in search of work ameliorate seasonal hunger?


A $20 migration subsidy lets rural residents travel to find work during the lean season.


Migrant households consume 550-700 additional calories per person per day.

The program is being tested in other countries, and being scaled to reach 1.4
million people in Bangladesh.


Microfinance may improve the lives of the poor by fostering entrepreneurship. Many recent randomized evaluations have sought to test whether this is true in the short-run. 


Evidence of the impact of microfinance is mixed.


RCT’s about microfinance mainly evaluate short-term impacts.

Rainfall Insurance

Rainfall index insurance can protect farmers from crop loss associated
with rainfall shocks, but take-up remains low. Do subsidies increase take-up,
and how does this impact the production decisions of those insured?


Subsidizing formal insurance
at various price levels
increases take-up.


Farmers who are insured are
more likely to switch to high-risk, but higher-yield, crops.


This increases wage volatility for landless laborers working on those farms.