Innovations for Poverty Action

Innovations for Poverty Action

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy non-profit that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA brings together researchers and decision-makers to design, rigorously evaluate, and refine these solutions and their applications, ensuring that the evidence created is used to improve the lives of the world’s poor.

At a Glance

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Organization Type

  • Scientific/ Research and Development
  • Non-governmental organization (NGO)

Contact

101 Whitney Ave
New Haven, CT 06510, USA

T : 1 203.772.2216

Organization Mission

In recent decades, trillions of dollars have been spent on programs designed to reduce global poverty, but clear evidence on which programs succeed is rare, and when evidence does exist, decision-makers often do not know about it. IPA exists to bring together leading researchers and these decision-makers to ensure that the evidence we create leads to tangible impact on the world. Since our founding in 2002, IPA has worked with over 400 leading academics to conduct over 600 evaluations in 51 countries. This research has informed hundreds of successful programs that now impact millions of individuals worldwide. Learn more about

Area of Focus

1. We create high quality evidence.

In partnership with top researchers in the field, we design and implement randomized evaluations to measure the effectiveness of programs and policies aimed at helping the poor. We specialize in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) because this rigorous methodology, considered the gold standard of impact evaluation design, allows us to isolate the effects of a program from other factors. Like in medical trials, researchers assign participants at random to different study groups. One or more groups receive a program (the “treatment groups”) and another group serves as the comparison (or “control”) group.

IPA evaluations do not simply give a passing or failing grade to programs, but rather seek to uncover and disentangle causal mechanisms and determine which adjustments will make a program more effective.

Our well-established partnerships in the countries where we work, and a strong understanding of local contexts, help make our research projects successful. Our teams operating in 18 countries work on the ground to develop new studies with NGOs and government institutions interested in conducting rigorous evaluations of their programs and in testing new ideas. IPA has more than 1,000 research staff who implement the research on the ground. Studies range in time from months, to years, to decades.

Once an intervention has proven effective in one context, we work to test it in other contexts. This replication process is an essential step on the path to scaling up effective programs.

IPA has an extensive network of more than 400 researchers from among the top universities in the world who collaborate with us in designing and conducting the evaluations. Many of these academics are pioneers in their fields of research, particularly in development economics.

To date, we have designed and evaluated more than 275 potential solutions to poverty problems and have over 240 more evaluations in progress. With this experience, IPA has developed extensive expertise in conducting successful evaluations, from the initial concept stage to the sharing of results.

2. We help turn that evidence into better programs and policies for the poor.

IPA also works to ensure that decision-makers use and apply evidence by making it useful and accessible. Our approach to ensuring evidence is used to inform decision-making includes three key components:

  • Creating high quality, policy-relevant evidence together with decision-makers.
  • Proactive sharing of results.
  • Technical assistance to apply solutions at scale.

At the study level, our teams work closely with their implementing partners from government, NGOs, for-profits, and civil society to ensure that they are involved in crafting the research questions, understand the data they are collecting, and will be able to use it. Our teams also write plain language summaries of each study, both before there are results, and an update after, for our website and to share locally.

At the sectoral level, we synthesize evidence, often in collaboration with our partners at J-PAL. We also produce media releases, op-eds, and events that highlight and summarize evidence across a particular sector.

As an organization, our comparative advantage is our local presence in the countries where we have established offices. This allows us both to develop strong long-term relationships with decision-makers and a long-term view for evidence-based policy.

Our country level approach leverages these relationships to:

  • work with decision-makers in priority sectors to identify key research questions.
  • share key findings through events, workshops, and local media.
  • train local organizations and government entities to understand, use, and apply evidence.
  • promote and facilitate the adoption of the most effective solutions.

From the concept stage of a study to results sharing with policymakers and practitioners, IPA is working to make sure strong evidence exists on what programs work, and that development aid and practice move towards those effective programs.