The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a global research center working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. Anchored by a network of more than 170 affiliated professors at universities around the world, J-PAL conducts randomized impact evaluations to answer critical questions in the fight against poverty.
For more than a decade, J-PAL affiliated professors have been actively researching important questions related to scaling up evidence-informed programs including conducting evaluations of government programs at scale, replicating evaluations of successful pilot programs at larger scale or with different implementers, and measuring the general equilibrium effects of various policy interventions. J-PAL also hosts research initiatives that catalyze new randomized evaluations of potential solutions to important policy challenges in agriculture, governance, post-primary education, and more.
With policy staff based in almost a dozen countries worldwide, J-PAL works with affiliated professors to distill results from this research into policy insights and then works with governments, NGOs, and the private sector to apply lessons from randomized evaluations in social programs and policy. J-PAL’s Evidence to Policy case studies highlight the various pathways through which researchers, implementers, and J-PAL staff are working together to institutionalize the use of evidence in policy, shift global thinking, apply general insights from evaluations, and adapt, scale up, or, in some cases, scale back programs.
J-PAL offices also specialize in providing technical assistance to governments and other implementers on when and how to scale up evidence-informed programs. For example, this work has helped the Government of Zambia to adapt, pilot, and scale Pratham’s Teaching at the Right Level approach to one-third of all primary schools in Zambia, the Government of Bihar commit to scaling a multifaceted livelihood program to 100,000 extremely poor households, and the Government of Indonesia to scale a national social protection ID card. Through our Innovation in Government Initiative, we provide funding to support to teams of J-PAL offices, affiliated professors, and governments to adapt, pilot, and scale evidence-informed programs.
To date, over 400 million people and counting have been reached by programs that were scaled up after being evaluated by J-PAL affiliated professors. Many more have been impacted by the myriad other ways in which evidence from randomized evaluations has informed policy.