Episodes
What are the consequences for workers if they are employed by a firm that is sanctioned for corruption? We’re back in Brazil: Christiane Szerman tells Tim Phillips that the quest to do the right thing is catching guilty companies – but with devastating consequences for thousands of employees.
Published 09/28/22
Published 09/21/22
Every year, ambient air pollution kills 3 million people, and causes respiratory problems for hundreds of millions more. Can low-paid workers avoid the harmful effects of air pollution without losing income? Bridget Hoffmann and Juan Pablo Rud talk to Tim Phillips about what data from Mexico City reveals.
Published 09/21/22
When workers become unemployed, do some turn to crime instead – and does unemployment insurance make a difference? Diogo Britto and Paolo Pinotti tell Tim Phillips about how disaggregated data gives a powerful new insight on the relationship between job loss and crime.
Published 09/15/22
Does who you vote for influence the chances that you are hired, fired, and promoted? Edoardo Teso tells Tim Phillips about Brazil’s politically polarised labour market.
Published 09/07/22
Almost 2 billion people don’t have access to clean water, which means increased risk of disease, especially for young children. Pascaline Dupas tells Tim Phillips how an experiment in Malawi that provided access to the chemicals to treat dirty water may save lives in many other countries too.
Published 08/10/22
Do policies to provide women with financial resources or financial services give them more economic independence? Less often than we would like, Mikaela Rabb tells Tim Phillips.
Published 08/03/22
If weak states fail to provide order and security, sometimes criminal gangs step in. Can this problem be fixed by targeting resources to the places most in need of help, and what happens when we do? Ben Lessing tells Tim Phillips about a project to do this in Colombia’s second largest city.
Published 07/27/22
By 2030, half the world’s poor will be living in conflict-affected areas. Could some of the resources dedicated to helping them be spent to prevent those conflicts? Thiemo Fetzer of the University of Warwick tells Tim Phillips how providing workfare in India reduced community violence.
Published 07/20/22
For small farmers the most difficult months of the years are the “hungry season” before the harvest. What would be the effect of a small loan at this time? A program in Zambia tweaked the rules of microfinance. Günther Fink and Kelsey Jack tell Tim Phillips about what happened.
Published 07/13/22
In the monsoon season of 2020, 5.5 million people in Bangladesh were affected by severe floods. But the UN was able to help thousands of households by sending them cash before the floods hit. Ashley Pople and Ruth Hill tell Tim Phillips about the situations in which anticipatory transfers might work better than conventional disaster response.
Published 07/06/22
When households escape poverty, how likely is it they will fall back in the future? Loki Phadera of the World Bank and Hope Michelson of the University of Illinois explain to Tim Phillips why measuring resilience can give us a new perspective on how well anti-poverty programs are working – if only we can agree how to do it.
Published 06/29/22
Children in low-income countries are 12 times more likely to die before their fifth birthday than those in high-income countries. Cash transfers to households may increase money spent on the health of children – but how large are the outcomes, and should the transfers specifically target child health? Anupama Dathan talks to Tim Phillips.
Published 06/22/22
Which interventions work best, and how can we tweak them to work better? How well could they work in other places, and what changes should we make? Airbel Impact Lab, part of the International Rescue Committee, designs, tests, and scales life-changing solutions for people affected by conflict and disaster. Tim Phillips talks to Jeannie Annan and Caitlin Tulloch about their work.
Published 06/15/22
When there is conflict, can outsiders help by creating informal ways for communities to resolve their disputes? Chris Blattman tells Tim Phillips about the long-term impact of a project to do exactly this in Liberia.
Published 06/08/22
How do we encourage small farmers to adopt new types of seeds in LICs? Government agents can help spread the word – but Kyle Emerick of Tufts University tells Tim Phillips that the dealers who sell the seeds might be an under-used resource.
Published 06/01/22
People who live in extreme poverty are increasingly concentrated in fragile and conflict-affected areas. Can a "big push" from the Targeting the Ultra Poor program help? Guadalupe Bedoya and Aidan Coville of the World Bank, and Mohammad Isaqzadeh of Princeton, are part of a team that evaluated the results of an attempt to lift 1,200 households out of poverty in Afghanistan.
Published 05/25/22
If poor people are caught in a poverty trap, a large one-time grant might be life changing. That's the thinking behind programs to target the ultra-poor. But is the impact of this "big push" genuinely permanent? Garima Sharma tells Tim Phillips about the impact of a program in India, 10 years on.
Published 05/18/22
Extreme weather doesn't just ruin one crop: it means that the following year small farmers won't have income to invest. Better seeds and insurance against this sort of bad luck are partial solutions, but what if we combine them in one package? Paswel Marenya tells Tim Phillips about a successful multi-year trial in Tanzania and Mozambique.
Published 05/11/22
Progresa was the groundbreaking and much-copied cash transfer program created by the Mexican government in 1997. Literally millions of children benefited from it. But are they still feeling that benefit? Karen Macours tells Tim Phillips about how a group of economists tracked down the first Progresa generation, and what they discovered.
Published 05/04/22
Research from the Dominican Republic shows that it is more common than we assumed (and more beneficial to both parties) if workers move to another firm in the same supply chain. Cian Ruane tells Tim Phillips why this hard-to-spot effect is important for economic development.
Published 04/27/22
How much do we know about what workfare programs achieve for people who take part? An analysis of one program in Côte d’Ivoire fills in some of the gaps in our knowledge, Patrick Premand tells Tim Phillips.
Published 04/20/22
Entrepreneurs create most of the new jobs in Africa. But can the skills of an entrepreneur be taught, and which skills will be most useful for Africa's young businesspeople? Paul Gertler tells Tim Phillips about a groundbreaking training program in Uganda.
Published 04/13/22
Economists have been arguing about whether openness to international trade creates growth for 250 years. David Atkin tells Tim Phillips about his analysis of the conditions in which increased openness improves welfare in a developing country. 
Published 04/06/22
Auditing ensures public procurement is good value. Or does it? An experiment in Chile suggests the audit itself makes procurement less efficient afterwards. Dina Pomeranz opened the black box of the audit process and tells Tim Phillips what she discovered.
Published 03/30/22