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MIT’s Poverty Action Lab Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary

MIT's J-PAL 10th Anniversary Live Event

MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is celebrating its 10th anniversary. To celebrate, J-PAL is hosting a one-day event in Cambridge on December 7, 2013. This event will also be webcast live starting at 9:30 AM EST.

J-PAL is marking the occasion with a day-long series of short talks, videos, and panel discussions from researchers, policymakers, staff, and partners. We will hear of surprising results discovered, key lessons learned, some incredible adventures from the field, and the hard road to evidence-based policy in development.


Over the past decade J-PAL has grown from a single office to a global network of researchers whose 400+ projects span 55 countries.

AGRICULTURE > 34 projects in 15 countries
EDUCATION > 106 projects in 29 countries
ENVIRONMENT & ENERGY >17 projects in 12 countries
HEALTH > 103 projects in 31 countries
FINANCE & MICROFINANCE > 154 projects in 35 countries
LABOR MARKETS > 50 projects in 22 countries
POLITICAL ECONOMY & GOVERNANCE > 93 projects in 26 countries

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) was established in 2003 as a research center at the Economics Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since then, it has grown into a global network of researchers who use randomized evaluations to answer critical policy questions in the fight against poverty.

J-PAL’s mission is to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is based on scientific evidence, and research is translated into action. They do this through three main activities:

  • Conducting Rigorous Impact Evaluations: J-PAL researchers conduct randomized evaluations to test and improve the effectiveness of programs and policies aimed at reducing poverty.
  • Policy Outreach: J-PAL’s policy group analyzes and disseminates research results and builds partnerships with policymakers to ensure that policy is driven by evidence, and effective programs are scaled up.
  • Capacity Building: J-PAL equips practitioners with the expertise to carry out their own rigorous evaluations through training courses and joint research projects

Tune in on December 7th, and help celebrate the great work of MIT’s efforts to reduce poverty.


Lifetime Achievement

Please read this interview, particularly if you are affiliated or play an influential role with the funding decision of a non-profit, as it could lead to your non-profit making an even greater impact on its target base.

Imagine positively impacting millions of lives…impacting a fraction of that number would represent quite a lifetime achievement for many of us – well, the team at J-PAL (MIT’s Poverty Lab) have already done that and are aiming for more (a recent deworming campaign in India reached 17 million children). Iqbal Dhaliwal, the Global Head of Policy at J-PAL, is leading many of these efforts to ensure that global policies and programs to reduce poverty are made more effective. 

I spoke with Iqbal about the challenge of measuring success and how non-profits can make an even greater impact on their target base.   

Iqbal, why did you choose a career in policy development and implementation?

I grew up in Delhi and was always bothered why there were so many people that were so poor. Were they just lazy (a fairly widespread belief among many in the middle class) or were there factors beyond their control? Those questions drove me to study economics at college and then to a career in the Indian civil services to implement many of the state-run development programs that aim at reducing poverty.

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