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CEGA in the News

Combining satellite imagery and machine learning to predict poverty

Aug 19, 2016 - In a new study by CEGA affiliates Marshall Burke and David Lobell, applying machine-learning techniques to high-resolution daytime satellite imagery, combined with nighttime lighting imagery, provides an innovative approach to remotely measuring poverty. The resulting data offers a reliable, accurate, and inexpensive means of estimating poverty in developing countries.

Tracking Poverty

Aug 19, 2016 - Marshall Burke recently discussed his work using satellite imagery to indicate poverty and wealth in an interview with BBC’s Science in Action Program.

Teacher Transfers in Uganda

Jul 24, 2016 - Would a centralized teacher transfer system help to improve job performance in Uganda? EASST fellow Dr. Saint Kizito Omala was recently interviewed about a project done in collaboration with CEGA affiliates Frederico Finan and Ernesto Dal Bo, which examines this question.

The Past, Present and Future of Agriculture

Jun 30, 2016 - Smithsonian Magazine explores the ever evolving relationship between humans and agriculture to consider what comes next, as new technology and globalized food markets shape what we eat. CEGA affiliate Mary Kay Gugerty contributes to the discussion, addressing the challenge facing small farmers in developing countries to grow marketable products, and how the business of agriculture then influences global crop diversity.

Innovative Approaches to Development

Jun 6, 2016 - Michael Faye, co-founder of GiveDirectly, spoke at CEGA’s 2016 Evidence to Action Symposium in San Francisco on the changing state of international development, and how GiveDirectly is combining new technologies with knowledge of effective poverty alleviation strategies to implement direct cash transfers on a broader scale.

How To Convince Someone To Care About Climate Change

Jun 5, 2016 - A new study co-authored by 2014 Levin Family Fellow Nick Obradovich found that people may be more motivated to act on climate change if they believe it to be a collective issue, suggesting that current messaging to convince individuals to adopt an attitude of personal responsibility may be ineffective in encouraging action.

FinTech for Global Development

May 23, 2016 - Financial products and services are more abundant than ever, yet access in the developing world remains challenging. Read about innovative approaches to financial inclusion featured at CEGA’s annual conference: Evidence to Action, FinTech for Global Development.

Ashok Gadgil Discusses the Launch of the New Journal for Development Engineering

May 17, 2016 - Co-Editor in Chief of the Journal for Development Engineering, Ashok Gadgil, spoke with SciDev.Net about the launch of the new journal and goals to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration and research transparency.

Reconciliation in Sierra Leone

May 13, 2016 - Post-conflict recovery requires extensive resources to help individuals and communities suffering from traumas. But what can be done to provide crucial mental health resources in developing countries, where such resources were lacking even beforehand? Work in postwar Sierra Leone by CEGA affiliate Katherine Casey addresses this issue in recent articles in Science and the Washington Post.

Does more wealth mean less political corruption?

May 6, 2016 - Emphasizing the need for new methods to more accurately measure political corruption, a recent Washington Post article references a study by CEGA affiliate Miriam Golden. The study measured gaps between the value of infrastructure stock and the amount spent to build it in difference regions of Italy to look for indicators of bribery and theft.

CEGA Affiliates Catherine Wolfram and Paul Gertler Lead Global Energy Program Aimed at Alleviating Poverty

Apr 25, 2016 - Read about the exciting work CEGA is doing to promote economic development while minimizing costs to our environment. At the heart of these efforts is a new research program on Energy for Economic Growth (EEG), which officially launched in celebration of Earth Day on April 22, 2016.

Development Engineering: A New Open-Access Journal

Apr 15, 2016 - The Journal of Development Engineering (Dev Eng) is thrilled to announce its first issue is now available on ScienceDirect. The issue includes an introductory article by CEGA Executive Director Temina Madon, Paul Gertler and Ashok Gadgil, the journal's Co-Editors in Chief. The issue also features a number of papers by other CEGA Affiliates including Eric Brewer, David Levine, Ted Miguel, and Catherine Wolfram. Dev Eng is an open access, interdisciplinary journal showcasing research on innovative technologies that are improving welfare in developing countries, as well as novel measurement tools that are improving the quality and relevance of empirical data. The journal is intended to encourage collaboration and learning across disciplines – particularly between diverse engineering fields and the social sciences.

Would providing basic income for 10-15 years eliminate poverty?

Apr 14, 2016 - GiveDirectly’s Paul Niehaus and Michael Faye announced plans to provide unconditional direct cash transfers for life to a group of 6,000 Kenyans, using rigorous evaluation to test if this method could provide solutions for global poverty on a broader scale.

Incentivized Goal Setting for Reproductive Health

Apr 14, 2016 - A recent post by Manisha Shah (CEGA affiliate), Abigail Sellman (CEGA Program Coordinator), and Temina Madon (CEGA Executive Director) explores new research that aims to learn if applying lessons from behavioral economics could address family planning and reproductive health challenges for Tanzanian youth.

Remote Sensing: A New Way To Detect Poverty

Apr 1, 2016 - New kinds of data—from satellite imagery, mobile phones, and other remote sensing innovations—are changing the way we combat poverty around the world. The New York Times recently featured CEGA-affiliates' use of machine learning to efficiently, economically, and accurately gather information that can improve the design of anti-poverty programs.

Shifting the Focus to Impact

Feb 29, 2016 - The use of evidence to scale effective projects is the focus of a recent New York Times article featuring CEGA Affiliate Pascaline Dupas. Her work on HIV education for Kenyan teenagers exemplifies the importance of sharing evidence to broaden a project's reach and create a larger impact.

Mapping Poverty Using Satellite Imagery

Feb 25, 2016 - Satellite images 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.

Teacher Absenteeism in India

Feb 19, 2016 - New research by CEGA affiliate Karthik Muralidharan shows that teacher absence can be as high as 46% in some Indian states, The study, along with local approaches for cutting absenteeism, were recently covered in the New York Times.