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Innovations for Poverty Actions

Discovering what works to help the world’s poor.

Projects in over 40 countries.

‘Randomized evaluation’ is not a phrase to set the average heart pounding. In the field of international development, however, rigorous monitoring and evaluation processes are often a missing factor in the quest to test and hone the effectiveness of specific interventions and pick ‘winners’ to scale and replicate. Innovations for Poverty Action, a New Haven-based non-profit consultancy, seeks to fill this vital niche by bridging the gap between academia and development policy in practice – in essence, matching good intentions with robust evidence. 

Founded in 2002 by economics professor Dean Karlan, the organization was intended from the outset as a vehicle to apply social science tools – mainly from economics, psychology, political science and public health – to design and test programmes that adapt to the local context and to the real behaviours of people. Once evaluated, Innovations for Poverty Action then disseminates the lessons learned to policymakers, practitioners, investors and donors around the world, working with these stakeholders to bring successful projects to scale. 

In each year since its inception, the organization has doubled in size, and currently manages projects in over 40 countries worldwide, drawing upon a network of more than 150 researchers (including some of the most recognised names in development economics).

(Photo © Corey Lack for Innovations for Poverty Action)