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Impact Note
October 2021

CEGA Welcomes New Affiliates

We are excited to introduce ten new faculty affiliates with expertise in computer science, business, public health, engineering, and more. Join us in welcoming Rediet Abebe (UC Berkeley), Kim Yi Dionne (UC Riverside), Jay Graham (UC Berkeley), Alan Griffith (UW), Layla Kwong (UC Berkeley), Juliana Londoño-Vélez (UCLA), Meera Mahadevan (UC Irvine), Amy Pickering (UC Berkeley), Munir Squires (UBC), and Jonathan Weigel (UC Berkeley).


CEGA Institutionalizes Evidence-based Policymaking 

Exploring how NGOs can support governments’ use of evidence, the Hewlett Foundation highlights CEGA’s partnership with the Ghana Institute for Management and Public Administration. We host trainings for policymakers and match them with researchers to answer priority questions, empowering governments to commission evaluations and normalize evidence-informed decision-making.

Photo: Chris Stein

Edward Miguel on Open Science

CEGA Faculty Co-Director Edward Miguel speaks to Bob Hahn of the Technology Policy Institute on the replication crisis in the social sciences and strategies for how to fix it. Miguel’s textbook, Transparent and Reproducible Social Science Research: How to Do Open Science, written with Garret Christensen and Jeremy Freese, recently received an outstanding publication award from the American Sociological Association.

Photo: Technology Policy Institute

Investing in African Research

EASST Fellow Samuel Muhula (Spring 2018) writes for Business Daily on the importance of supporting African-led research. He observes that foreign funding prioritizes foreign preferences—and African health priorities, like tropical diseases and inequalities, cannot be resolved until African countries develop their own R&D infrastructure and train more researchers. As Muhula suggests, CEGA is committed to collaborating with in-country stakeholders to build research capacity and address local needs.

Photo: NMG

Expanding the Child Tax Credit

A recent New York Times column features research from Hilary Hoynes, Faculty Director of the Opportunity Lab (O-Lab), a hub for domestic research supported by CEGA. Hoynes gathered support from over 450 economists, urging Congress to make the expanded Child Tax Credit permanent.

Photo: Benjamin Norman


Photo: CEGA

Research Transparency and Reproducibility Trainings Inspire Across Americas

CEGA’s intensive Research Transparency and Reproducibility Trainings (RT2)—organized by the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS)—provide researchers with the tools and knowledge needed to advance transparent and reproducible social science research. Recent graduates of these trainings are promoting open science in Colombia, Brazil, and the US through conferences, workshops, and academic curricula.



Bangladesh Study Shows Masks Work

CEGA affiliated professor Layla Kwong and coauthors write for the New York Times about their recently published research from the first-ever randomized evaluation of surgical masks. Also covered in the Washington Post and NPR, results from Bangladesh indicate that communal masking lowers transmission of COVID-19 and study interventions tripled mask-wearing among community members. Studying over 300,000 adults, researchers also present a method to scale research findings.

Photo: Bobby Doherty

Health Coverage Enrollment in Tanzania

EASST fellow Grace Mhalu (Spring 2019) and coauthors explore the attitudes of local women food vendors and motorcycle taxi drivers in Tanzania toward enrolling in the Community Health Fund (iCHF), a national health insurance service. They find that while more information about health coverage is needed for those in the informal sector, encouragement from significant others could motivate these individuals to enroll in iCHF.

Photo: B Giera

Mitigating Negative Impacts of Digital Credit

With funding from CEGA’s Digital Credit Observatory (DCO), Alain Shema published new research indicating that people with increased credit limits also increase borrowing, leading to lower repayment rates and long-term use of communication services. He offers recommendations on how digital micro-lenders can minimize negative effects of increasing credit limits, including dividing loans into smaller installments to increase repayment rates.

Photo: ACRE Africa

Working Papers

  • Paul Gertler, James Heckman, and coauthors tracked 127 children in Jamaica who received interventions designed to improve childhood nutrition and parenting. 30 years on, those now-adults demonstrate significant increases in wages and education. 
  • Layla Kwong and coauthors conducted the first-ever randomized evaluation of masks in Bangladesh, studying how to increase mask wearing and the impact of community masking on COVID-19 infections.
  • Erika Deserranno, Philipp Kastrau, and Gianmarco Leon-Ciliotta analyzed promotion incentives in Sierra Leone and found that non-meritocratic promotions reduce productivity due to low morale.


  • Chelsea Downs and Richard Otoo describe the successes and challenges of researchers and policymakers in West Africa who received seed funding from DIWA’s first-ever research grant competition.
  • With evidence from the CEGA-J-PAL Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI), Emily Sylvia reviews efforts to improve the quality of agricultural goods and the profits smallholder farmers receive for them.
  • Sam Fishman highlights three technologies from the CEGA co-managed and USAID-funded Development Impact Lab (DIL) that exemplify how the development engineering (DevEng) approach can be used to address global poverty.


Visit CEGA's event page or our YouTube channel to watch videos of past events. Videos are typically posted within one week of the event date.

Photo: SEEDEC 2019 | CEGA

October 7:  Symposium on Economic Experiments in Developing Countries (SEEDEC)

FAIR at the Norwegian School of Economics and the Department of Economics at the Monash Business School will host a Symposium on Economic Experiments in Developing Countries. SEEDEC connects researchers conducting experiments in low- and middle-income countries. This year will feature keynotes by Sule Alan and Alistair Munro. For more information and to register, see the event page.

Photo: WWGS

October 18-27: What Works Global Summit 2021: Evidence for Development

Co-hosted by the Campbell Collaboration and the Global Development Network (GDN), CEGA will participate in What Works Global Summit 2021: Evidence for Development. On October 18, CEGA will showcase the use of innovative approaches utilizing AI and machine learning approaches to improve the targeting of social protection programs. On October 25, CEGA will share results from a forthcoming paper from the Digital Credit Observatory (DCO), on the impact of algorithm-based consumer credit in emerging markets. On October 26, CEGA will present efforts to help researchers make choices about the design of cost evaluations of social and economic programs and ensure that cost evidence is "fit-to-purpose," or optimally relevant for the final consumers of evidence. For more information and to register, see the event page.

Photo: Mohammad Al-Arief

October 27-28: Cost-ober 2021: The Role of High-Quality Cost Evidence in Impact Evaluation Research

CEGA’s second annual “Cost-ober” series will feature two webinars and a virtual workshop on cost analysis and its important role in impact evaluation research. Hosted by CEGA’s Cost Transparency Initiative and associated Costing Community of Practice (CCoP), panels will include “Cash Benchmarking in Programmatic Evaluation” and “Portfolio Level Costs and Benefits.” For more information and to register, see the event page.

Photo: Harshit Bawa

November 4: Evidence to Action 2021: Reimagining Development Aid

CEGA’s annual Evidence to Action (E2A) symposium will explore the targeting, design, and delivery of social safety nets and emergency aid, with a focus on low- and middle-income countries. Along with a keynote by Minister Cina Lawson of Togo, we will showcase results from CEGA research and insights from government and NGO partners who are leveraging innovative approaches and underutilized sources of data to improve their crisis preparedness and response. For more information and to register, see the event page

Photo: Kathryn MacAuley

November 9: The Impact of Building Market Linkages in Uganda

Co-managed by CEGA, the Agriculture Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI) will host an evidence-sharing webinar with Craig McIntosh. Exploring whether mobile phone-based marketplaces enhance smallholder farmers’ ability to access buyers directly and increase profits, McIntosh completed one of the largest market information experiments to understand the impacts of such a digital marketplace in Uganda. For more information and to register, see the event page.


Hiring Associate Director, Communications and Policy Engagement

We’re seeking a creative, ambitious, and mission-driven communications professional to develop and implement a new communications and policy engagement strategy for CEGA. This full-time role will lead the Center’s communications and external engagement. Communications is critical to CEGA’s mission, ensuring that our research is used by policymakers and others to improve lives, while amplifying our credibility and visibility among key audiences. To apply, see the listing.

Hiring Program Associate, Global Networks

We’re seeking an associate to support CEGA’s Global Networks portfolio, as well as efforts to drive inclusion across CEGA and the global development research community. This is a challenging opportunity for a professional interested in academic administration, global poverty and inclusion; with a desire to deepen skills in project management, communications, and research; and is energized to contribute to the long-term success of a dynamic organization. To apply, see the listing.

Hiring Geo4Dev Intern

We’re seeking a fall intern to develop additional Geo4Dev learning modules in collaboration with CEGA faculty, to pilot these modules through CEGA events and workshops, and to work with research teams to develop new resources and data infrastructures around novel research utilizing geospatial analytics. This is a remote, paid internship. To apply, see the listing.

Request for Submissions to DevEng Journal Special Issue: Cost Estimation

Development Engineering: The Journal of Engineering in Economic Development is seeking submissions for a Special Issue that explores the use of cost estimation as a tool for resource-constrained design and the evaluation of products, services and innovations intended for marginalized populations. To submit, see the announcement

Request for Submissions to DevEng Journal Special Issue: Geospatial Analysis

Development Engineering: The Journal of Engineering in Economic Development is seeking submissions for a Special Issue on the latest research that leverages geospatial analysis for global development. To submit, see the announcement

About CEGA 


Research. Inspire. Change.

CEGA is the West Coast hub for research on global development. Headquartered at UC Berkeley, CEGA’s large, interdisciplinary research network—including a growing number of scholars from low- and middle-income countries—identifies and tests innovations designed to reduce poverty and promote development. Our researchers use rigorous methods as well as novel measurement tools—including wireless sensors, mobile data, and analytics—to evaluate complex programs. Through careful matchmaking, competitive grantmaking, and research dissemination activities, CEGA ensures that the research we produce is relevant, timely, and actionable to policymakers.

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