Founded with Sloan Foundation support in 2013 and based at MIT, J-PAL North America is a regional hub of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, a global network of economic researchers who share a dedication to promoting the use of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in economics. RCTs are a powerful research methodology in social science, the “gold standard” for drawing robust conclusions about causal relationships. Researchers affiliated with J-PAL North America have completed nearly 100 rigorous studies of a wide range of relevant issues, including the effect of summer jobs on juvenile delinquency, whether you can improve student performance by paying for good grades, what information can reduce consumer reliance on payday loans, and a host of other studies on the topics of voting, crime, discrimination, and health care. This grant provides core operating support to J-PAL North America for the continuation of these and related activities for three years.
Funded activities under this grant include a new series of Design Within Reach forums, in which researchers exchange early feedback on the design of planned RCTs; a Short-Term Research Management program that provides hands-on administrative assistance to researchers during the early stages of planning, piloting, and implementing an RCT; an outreach initiative to promote interactions between researchers and policymakers; and an ongoing collaboration with the global J-PAL network to address the challenges and opportunities posed by administrative data.