Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab
Channel | updated September 05, 2012
The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a network of 64 affiliated professors around the world who are united by their use of Randomized Evaluations (REs) to answer questions critical to poverty alleviation. J-PAL's mission is to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is based on scientific evidence. J-PAL works to achieve this by:
Conducting Rigorous Impact Evaluations- J-PAL researchers conduct randomized evaluations to test and improve the effectiveness of programs and policies aimed at reducing poverty. There are more than 311 evaluations that have been either completed or are ongoing.
Building Capacity- J-PAL provides expertise to people interested in rigorous program evaluation, and training to others on how to conduct randomized evaluations.
Impacting Policy- J-PAL’s policy group performs cost-effectiveness analysis to identify the most effective ways to achieve policy goals, disseminates this knowledge to policymakers, and works with governments, NGOs, foundations, and international development organizations to promote the scale-up of highly effective policies and programs around the world.
J-PAL is organized both by regional offices and by research themes called Programs. J-PAL's headquarters is a center within the Economics Department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), with independent regional offices in Africa, Europe, Latin America, and South Asia that are hosted by a local university. J-PAL's Programs include Agriculture, Education, Energy and Environment, Finance, Health, Labor Markets, and Political Economy and Governance. These regional offices and Programs are directed by members of the J-PAL Board, which is composed of J-PAL affiliates and senior management. However, J-PAL's affiliated professors set their own research agenda and raise funds to support their evaluations.
J-PAL and its partners are driven by a shared belief in the power of scientific evidence to understand what really helps the poor, and what does not. J-PAL's many partners include:
Nonprofits (NGOs) and governments that run the programs that J-PAL affiliates evaluate;
Governments, foundations, international development organizations and NGOs that use J-PAL's policy lessons on what works in poverty reduction to scale-up the most cost-effective programs;
Donors that provide funding for evaluations, scale ups and special initiatives, and
Research centers that help administer J-PAL affiliates' randomized evaluations and who employ the staff associated with these evaluations. Partners include Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), Centre for Microfinance, Center for International Development's Micro-Development Initiative, Center of Evaluation for Global Action, Ideas 42, and the Small Enterprise Finance Center.
The lab is named for Abdul Latif Jameel, father of MIT alumnus Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel, who supported the Poverty Action Lab with three major endowments in 2005, and in 2009 gave another substantial gift of endowment support. For more information about J-PAL's history, please see our history page.