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Cross-Cutting Issues: Human Capital


There remains a research gap in how best to enhance human capital and the capacity of workers to obtain better employment outcomes, grow firms, and contribute to economic development. This includes work on how to ensure that high-quality health and education services are accessible by all – regardless of background – and how these combined with government and family investments contribute to better health status and learning outcomes. Moreover, it includes research on how different types of training, and the modalities for delivering that training, prepare workers for jobs or can help small-scale entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. The teams have conducted research to evaluate a youth employment training program in the Dominican Republic, which combines technical and socioemotional training with an internship in a local firm. The study included a "job search skills" module to help students find employment after the program ends and an "enhanced CV," adding an assessment of their socioemotional skills and a letter of recommendation from the firm where they did the internship. In Togo, the team worked with operational colleagues and psychologists to develop personal initiative training, which focuses on developing a psychology-based entrepreneurial mindset. The randomized controlled trial showed that entrepreneurs who took the personal initiative training saw their profits rise by an average of 30 percent relative to the control group, and the training had even greater impact for female entrepreneurs. The encouraging results from trainings in Togo inspired considerable demand for scale-up of similar endeavors in other countries.

Working Papers

Using Lotteries to Incentivize Safer Sexual Behavior: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial on HIV Prevention (2015)

Financial incentives are a promising HIV prevention strategy. This paper assesses the effect on HIV incidence of a lottery program in Lesotho with low expected payments but a chance to win a high prize conditional on negative test results for sexually transmitted infections.

Quality and Accountability in Healthcare Delivery: Audit Evidence from Primary Care Providers in India (2015)

Market-based accountability in the unregulated private sector may be providing better incentives for provider effort than administrative accountability in the public sector in this setting. This paper presents direct evidence on the quality of health care in low-income settings using a unique and original set of audit studies.

The Measurement of Educational Inequality: Achievement and Opportunity (2011)

Inequality of opportunity accounts for up to 35 percent of all disparities in educational achievement. This paper proposes two related measures of educational inequality: one for educational achievement and another for educational opportunity.

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