Unlocking the door to migration: BRAC’s Migrant loan program: Approximately 8 to 10 million Bangladeshi, mostly rural low‐skilled male workers age 18 to 40, are currently migrants to 24 countries of the Gulf and South East Asia where they principally work in construction and services. Remittances form a substantial part of the country’s economy, contributing 9.6% of GDP in 2010. The government of Bangladesh is interested in increasing the size and quality of migration as a source of income for migrants and of remittances for the country. Providing access to credit to would-be migrants and assisting them with securing reliable job offers in destination countries could unlock the door to migration to a new tranche of individuals, with positive effects for their households and the country. In September 2011, BRAC started rolling out a migrant loan program, managed as part of its large microfinance lending portfolio. This study will conduct an impact evaluation of the migrant loan program, focusing on the contrast between migrants that migrated before and after the program was available.
As a follow up to their 2013 evaluation, the team received a second tranche of funding in 2014. The first objective of this second round of funding was to conduct an impact evaluation of BRAC’s Safe Migration Program, assessing if providing information, support, and training to potential migrants can reduce the risk of migration and result in a more successful migration. The second objective was to identify the channels through which this intervention achieves the highest impact, identifying changes in migration behavior as a product of the intervention. The study will utilize a randomized expansion of the Safe Migration Program to 80 sub-districts. A baseline survey was conducted in 2014 covering about 3100 potential migrants from 608 villages. Follow up survey is expected to be fielded in February/March, 2017.
TANZANIA | Jonathan Robinson (UC Santa Cruz), Patrick Olobo (BRAC), Brian Giera (UC Santa Cruz), and Shilpa Aggarwal (Indian School of Business)
Understanding Demand and Supply Constraints in the Market for Fertilizer: In Sub-Saharan Africa, the agricultural yields are much greater in comparison to what they are in South Asia, mainly due to fertilizer and hybrid seeds. Furthermore, this decrease may partly have to do with the input and output markets being fragmented. In order to understand and estimate the input responses to interventions from those markets, this project aims to understand the price elasticity of input usage. The project is focused on: 1) estimating such elasticity; 2) study the lasting effects of input subsidy; and lastly 3) benchmark the impact of the price subsidy against of the most common forms of demand stimulation, — being farmer training through agricultural extension.
Impact Evaluation of Targeting Ultra Poor Program: BRAC’s standard microfinance programs are poorly suited to the needs of what it terms the “ultra-poor” - these are households whose income is either too low or too sporadic to allow them to consistently service loans of the sort which BRAC successfully extends to wealthier households. BRAC has had some success with a “Targeting the Ultra-Poor” (TUP) program in Bangladesh, which gives livestock and training (of roughly equal cost) to the poorest households in targeted areas. The research team is interested in whether a similar program of transfers and training would be successful in South Sudan. The treatment group will receive cash transfers in different amounts, while the control group will receive cash, food, or some other liquid asset of equal value to the capital transfers given to the treatment group. A central goal of our research is to find the minimal scale of transfers necessary to deliver sustained increases in household income, thus allowing BRAC to less expensively adapt its TUP program (successful in Bangladesh, and already being scaled up there) to the very different conditions of South Sudan.
As part of the Impact Evaluation of Targeting the Ultra Poor in South Sudan, the team received a second tranche of funding in 2015 to explore innovative ways of improving on the current plan for data collection. The team’s interest in using mobile devices for remote survey collection is two-fold: a) to improve the quality of the statistical power of the TUP program’s randomized evaluation, and b) to extract lessons on the potential for remote data collection as a low-cost, high frequency research and monitoring tool. Year funded: 2013 Current status: Ongoing Read more: Impact Evaluation of BRAC's Targeting the Ultra-Poor Program in South Sudan