Center for Effective Global Action
February 2016 - Impact Note

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) has seen significant progress during the ten years since its inception. A growing body of research about the program, which promises 100 days of employment to every rural household, suggests that it has helped reduce poverty and distress migration, and has raised the bargaining power of rural laborers, especially among lower castes and women.
CEGA at Millennium Challenge Corporation Panel  

Jennifer Sturdy
On February 2, Jennifer Sturdy (BITSS) presented in the Millennium Challenge Corporation's Open Data Challenge webinar, focusing on how institutions and researchers can balance data publication (for transparency, reproducibility, and future users of the data) with protecting privacy and supporting the anonymization of data. 

A Role for Behavioral Economics in Family Planning?

At this year's International Conference on Family Planning in Indonesia, the Hewlett Foundation hosted a panel with CEGA, ideas42 and BRAC to share new insights about fertility decision-making and reproductive health. BERI, CEGA's initiative on this topic, will be publishing new results later this year.
Affiliates Map Poverty Using Satellite Imagery 
Satellite images
Photo credit: NASA
of nighttime lights are an important source of information with a variety of applications, and have now been combined with daytime images to predict poverty using an innovative system of transfer learning. CEGA Affiliates David Lobell (Stanford) and Marshall Burke (Stanford), along with fellow researchers, are investigating the potential uses of machine learning to map and predict poverty, a step which could eventually decrease or eliminate the need for costly surveys on the ground.
The Economics of Corruption
Kweku Opoku-Agyemang 
Research led by Jeremy Foltz and Kweku Opoku-Agyemang, a CEGA Research Fellow and Development Impact Lab (DIL) Postdoctoral Fellow alum, was featured in The Economist. The study found that higher pay for police officers in Ghana led to higher levels of extortion and corruption. This is contrary to conventional economic theory that suggests higher pay reduces corruption.   

Keeping the 'Tree of Life' Alive  
Photo credit: Martin and Kathy Dady 

ffiliate Travis Lybbert (UC Davis), working with Moroccan colleagues, has researched the impact of the argan oil boom on the argan region of Morocco for over 10 years. Findings are generally not positive for locals or the environment, indicating that although some rural families have benefited from the boom, outsiders have profited the most and that, unfortunately, the oil boom has not incentivized reforestation but only the conservation of mature trees. 

Tsetse-associated Disease Continues to Influence Development
Marcella Alsan 
By taking a historical look at progress in Africa, CEGA affiliate
Marcella Alsan (Stanford) has created an index to compare areas with a large population of the parasite-carrying insect with unaffected areas. The results show that areas of pre-colonial Africa
 with a large tsetse fly population saw lower human populations and fewer livestock, as well as lower economic performance. These negative effects of the fly's ability to spread disease to humans and livestock still persist today.  
Mobile Data Collection - Webinar Series 

This season, we will showcase an array of new technologies for collecting field data using mobile devices. In collaboration with Engineering for Change, CEGA is co-hosting a webinar series featuring Premise, Votomobile, engageSPARK, and others.

Grants for Meta Research
Ted Miguel

The Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) invites researchers to submit proposals to the Social Science Meta-Analysis and Research Transparency (SSMART) Program. Grants of $30,000 per project are available, with a total of $230,000 in this round. The deadline to submit proposals is March 28.

CEGA is Hi
BITSS is recruiting a Staff Scientist and Program Manager. CEGA is seeking two part-time (20 hours/week) interns for Spring 2016 to support the Center's programs in agriculture and in financial inclusion and energy. Click here to apply!