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 490 Scopus

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Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Publication
    Financing Municipal Water and Sanitation Services in Nairobi’s Informal Settlements
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-07) Coville, Aidan; Galiani, Sebastian; Gertler, Paul; Yoshida, Susumu
    This study estimates the impacts of two interventions implemented as field experiments in informal settlements by Nairobi’s water and sanitation utility to improve revenue collection efficiency and last mile connection loan repayment: (i) face-to-face engagement between utility staff and customers to encourage payment and (ii) contract enforcement for service disconnection due to nonpayment in the form of transparent and credible disconnection notices. While there is no effect of the engagement, the study finds large effects of enforcement on payment. There is no effect on access to water, perceptions of utility fairness or quality of service delivery, on the relationships between tenants and property owners, or on tenant mental well-being nine months after the intervention. To counterbalance the increase in payments, property owners increased rental income by renting out additional space. Taken together these results suggest that transparent contract enforcement was effective at improving revenue collection efficiency without incurring large social or political costs.
  • Publication
    Promoting Handwashing Behavior in Peru : The Effect of Large-Scale Mass-Media and Community Level Interventions
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-11) Galiani, Sebastian; Gertler, Paul; Orsola-Vidal, Alexandra
    This paper analyzes a randomized experiment that uses novel strategies to promote handwashing with soap at critical times in Peru. It evaluates a large-scale intervention that includes a mass media provincial campaign and a district-level community component. The analysis finds that the mass media intervention alone had no significant effect on exposure to the handwashing promotion campaign messages, and therefore no effect on handwashing knowledge or handwashing behavior. In contrast, the community-level intervention, a more comprehensive intervention that included several community and school activities in addition to the communications campaign, was successful in reaching the target audience with handwashing promotion messages and in improving the knowledge of the treated population on appropriate handwashing behavior. Those improvements translated into higher self-reported and observed handwashing with soap at critical junctures. However, no significant improvements in the health of children under the age of five were observed. The results are consistent with earlier literature, which indicates that substantively changing behavior to improve health is a complex task requiring intensive and more personalized interventions.
  • Publication
    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.