Students at McCourt School’s Master in International Development Policy (MIDP) work with a client to produce an applied empirical report which answers a policy-relevant question.

Past clients include: ARK, iDE, IFPRI, Mercy Corps, the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative,
Twaweza, and the World Bank.

On the right are some examples of previous projects.

2020

The Drivers and Returns to Migration
Client: Mercy Corps

Using panel data from the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium this capstone project investigates the effects of exogenous shocks on the likelihood of migration in the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as the effects of remittances and migration on household food security in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. In the DRC, using a fixed effects model the study finds a positive and statistically significant impact of exogenous shocks on the likelihood of a household member migrating. Of the shocks examined, crop/livestock disease had the most significant effect, increasing the likelihood of migration by 11.2 percentage points, on average, holding constant all time-invariant, household-level characteristics. This represents a near doubling of the baseline migration rate of 13.6% in the absence of crop/livestock disease. The research further shows that social assistance provided by NGOs/donors reduces the impact of crop/livestock disease on migration. In Pakistan, which has the highest external migration rate across the three countries analyzed (33%, on average), receiving remittances has a positive and statistically significant effect on household food security. Conversely, in Sri Lanka, where internal migration is more common, remittances do not have an effect on household food security, and internal migration is negatively correlated with food security.

Policy brief and technical report

Examining school accountability and teacher value-added in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa district in Pakistan

Policy brief and technical report

2019

The 2015 Gorkha earthquake in Nepal: Who were the most exposed, vulnerable, and resilient?
Client: World Bank

The students analyze the Nepal Household Risk and Vulnerability Survey conducted by the World Bank in 2016. They find that richer households in the plain areas were most likely to be exposed to the earthquake. Moreover, richer households lost more assets in absolutely terms, but poorer households lost more assets in relative terms. The poorest households were also most likely to reduce expenditure as a coping strategy, and less likely to use savings.

Policy brief and technical report

Inequality of Opportunity in Ethiopia
Client: World Bank

The students analyze trends in inequality of opportunity in Ethiopia. They find that there has been an overall improvement in both access to services and inequality of access, between 2011 and 2016. However, large geographic disparities between rural and urban areas remain. Rural status is by far the largest driver of inequality, compared to other socio-economic factors such as income, education, region, or religion.

Technical report. This work contributed to a chapter in World Bank’s Ethiopia Poverty Assessment

2018

Can sanitation marketing improve latrine usage and reduce incidence of diarrhea? Evidence from Cambodia.
Client: iDE

Using a difference-in-difference empirical strategy, the students find that latrine coverage increased by 17.8 percentage points in regions targeted by the sanitation marketing program compared to the control regions, while diarrhea decreased by 5.8 percentage points.

Policy brief and technical report

2017

What are the Determinants of Household Resilience to Conflict in Nigeria?
Client: Mercy Corps

Using a triple-difference strategy the students find that: (i) poorer households are more likely to be affected by conflict; (ii) an increase in conflict exposure is associated with a reduction in food consumption and increase in child malnutrition; (iii) and villages with higher social capital and access to services can mitigate the negative impact of conflict on measures of child malnutrition including stunting, underweight, and wasting.

Policy brief and technical report

What were the impacts of Ebola on the labor market in Sierra Leone?
Client: World Bank
Using a difference-in-difference empirical strategy, the students find that households in regions most exposed to Ebola experienced a reduction in employment in the farming sector the subsequent year, relative to regions that were less exposed. This was partially offset by an increase in non-formal self-employment.

Policy brief and technical report

2016

What predicts violence in Iraq?
Client: Mercy Corps

The students use machine learning techniques to predict incidence of violence in Iraq. They find that voting behavior and links with tribal chiefs as the strongest predictors.

Policy brief and technical report

Can private school vouchers improve student performance in India?
Client: ARK

The students report results of a randomized evaluation of a voucher program to attend low-fee private schools in New Delhi. Consistent with previous studies, they find that the voucher program had a negative impact on Hindi but a positive impact on English learning outcomes.

Policy brief and technical report