Gertler, Paul Jerome

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Impact evaluation, Health economics
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Last updated January 31, 2023
Paul Gertler is the Li Ka Shing Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley where he holds appointments in the Haas School of Business and the School of Public Health. He is also the Scientific Director of the UC Center for Effective Global Action. Dr. Gertler is an internationally recognized expert in impact evaluation. Dr. Gertler was Chief Economist of the Human Development Network of the World Bank from 2004-2007 and the Founding Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) from 2009-2012.  At the World Bank he led an effort to institutionalize and scale up impact evaluation for learning what works in human development. He is the author of the bestselling textbook Applied Impact Evaluation published by the World Bank Press. He has been a Principal Investigator on a large number of at-scale multi-site impact evaluations including Mexico’s CCT program, PROGRESA/OPORTUNIDADES, and Rwanda’s Health Care Pay-for-Performance scheme. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Wisconsin and prior to UC Berkeley has held academic appointments at Harvard, RAND, and SUNY Stony Brook.
Citations 479 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
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    Housing, Health, and Happiness
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-04) Cattaneo, Matias D. ; Galiano, Sebastian ; Gertler, Paul J. ; Martinez, Sebastian ; Titiunik, Rocio
    Despite the importance of housing for people's well-being, there has been little work done to assess the causal impact of housing and housing improvement programs on health and welfare. In this paper the authors help fill this gap by investigating the impact of a large-scale effort by the Mexican government to replace dirt floors with cement floors on child health and adult happiness. They find that replacing dirt floors with cement floors significantly reduces parasitic infestations in young children, reduces diarrhea, reduces anemia, and improves cognitive development. Finally, they also find that this program leave adults substantially better off, as measured by satisfaction with their housing and quality of life and by their significantly lower rates of depression and perceived stress.
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    Empowering Parents to Improve Education : Evidence from Rural Mexico
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-05) Gertler, Paul ; Patrinos, Harry ; Rubio-Codina, Marta
    Mexico's compensatory education program provides extra resources to primary schools that enroll disadvantaged students in highly disadvantaged rural communities. One of the most important components of the program is the school-based management intervention known as AGEs. The impact of the AGEs is assessed on intermediate school quality indicators (failure, repetition and dropout), controlling for the presence of the conditional cash transfer program. Results prove that school-based management is an effective measure for improving outcomes, based on an over time difference-in-difference evaluation. Complementary qualitative evidence corroborates the veracity of such findings.
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    Investing Cash Transfers to Raise Long-Term Living Standards
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-08) Gertler, Paul ; Martinez, Sebastian ; Rubio-Codina, Marta
    The authors test whether poor households use cash transfers to invest in income generating activities that they otherwise would not have been able to do. Using data from a controlled randomized experiment, they find that transfers from the Oportunidades program to households in rural Mexico resulted in increased investment in micro-enterprise and agricultural activities. For each peso transferred, beneficiary households used 88 cents to purchase consumption goods and services, and invested the rest. The investments improved the household's ability to generate income with an estimated rate of return of 17.55 percent, suggesting that these households were both liquidity and credit constrained. By investing transfers to raise income, beneficiary households were able to increase their consumption by 34 percent after five and a half years in the program. The results suggest that cash transfers to the poor may raise long-term living standards, which are maintained after program benefits end.
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    School-Based Management and Learning Outcomes: Experimental Evidence from Colima, Mexico
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-06) Garcia-Moreno, Vicente ; Gertler, Paul ; Patrinos, Harry Anthony
    A school-based management program was implemented Mexico in 2001 and continued until 2014. This national program, Programa Escuelas de Calidad, was considered a key intervention to improve learning outcomes. In 2006, the national program was evaluated in the Mexican state of Colima, being the first experimental evaluation of the national program. All schools were invited to participate in the program; a random selection was performed to select the treatment and control groups among all the applicants. An intent-to-treat approach did not detect any impact on learning outcomes; a formal school-based management intervention plus a monetary grant was not enough to improve learning outcomes. First, the schools in the evaluation sample, control and treatment, were schools with high learning outcomes. Second, these schools had experienced some years of regular school-based management practices before the evaluation. A difference-in-difference design is used to identify heterogeneous effects of the program on learning outcomes. The difference-in-difference approach shows that the intensity of treatment increased test scores during the first year of the intervention.
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    Cash for Coolers : Evaluating a Large-Scale Appliance Replacement Program in Mexico
    (American Economic Association, 2014-11) Davis, Lucas W. ; Fuchs, Alan ; Gertler, Paul
    This paper evaluates a large-scale appliance replacement program in Mexico that from 2009 to 2012 helped 1.9 million households replace their old refrigerators and air conditioners with energy-efficient models. Using household-level billing records from the universe of Mexican residential customers, we find that refrigerator replacement reduces electricity consumption by 8 percent, about one-quarter of what was predicted by ex ante analyses. Moreover, we find that air conditioning replacement actually increases electricity consumption. Overall, we find that the program is an expensive way to reduce externalities from energy use, reducing carbon dioxide emissions at a program cost of over $500 per ton.
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    Promoting Parental Involvement in Schools: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-10) Barrera-Osorio, Felipe ; Gertler, Paul ; Nakajima, Nozomi ; Patrinos, Harry Anthony
    Parental involvement programs aim to increase school-and-parent communication and support children's overall learning environment. This paper examines the effects of low-cost, group-based parental involvement interventions in Mexico using data from two randomized controlled trials. The first experiment provided financial resources to parent associations. The second experiment provided information to parents about how to support their children's learning. Overall, the interventions induced different types of parental engagement in schools. The information intervention changed parenting behavior at home -- with large effects among indigenous parents who have historically been discriminated and socially excluded -- and improved student behavior in school. The grants did not impact parent or student behaviors. Notably, the paper does not find impacts of either intervention on educational achievement. To understand these 0 effects, the paper explores how social ties between parents and teachers evolved over the course of the two interventions. Parental involvement interventions led to significant changes in perceived trustworthiness between teachers and parents. The results suggest that parental involvement interventions can backfire if institutional rules are unclear about the expectations of parents and teachers as parents increase their involvement in schools.
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    Housing, Health, and Happiness
    ( 2009) Cattaneo, Matias D. ; Galiani, Sebastian ; Gertler, Paul J. ; Martinez, Sebastian ; Titiunik, Rocio
    We investigate the impact of a large-scale Mexican program to replace dirt floors with cement floors on child health and adult happiness. We find that replacing dirt floors with cement significantly improves the health of young children measured by decreases in the incidence of parasitic infestations, diarrhea, and the prevalence of anemia, and an improvement in children's cognitive development. Additionally, we find significant improvements in adult welfare measured by increased satisfaction with their housing and quality of life, as well as by lower scores on depression and perceived stress scales.