PEP Toolbox: Methodologies for PEP research
Among PEP’s peerless features is the breadth of analytical perspectives, tools and techniques that grantee researchers can choose to be trained in and apply. PEP is able to offer capacity building in these methodological approaches, also known as the “PEP Toolbox”, thanks to specialist PEP Resource Persons.
The four main categories of methodologies applied in the context of PEP research are briefly described below. This categorization has led to four distinct (although tightly linked) research programs or “Thematic Research Groups” (TRGs), coordinated by teams of international experts.
Through these various approaches, PEP research can explore a broad range of policy issues related to poverty reduction and sustainable development.
Community-based Monitoring Systems (CBMS)
Developing and implementing the CBMS methodology to provide disaggregated data for multidimensional poverty analysis. CBMS data, including the resulting “poverty maps” or profiles, help improve policy formulation, program targeting, and impact monitoring, while empowering communities.
Often implemented in collaboration with local government units, community-based monitoring systems help to address existing data gaps in national statistical databases for assessing the extent of multidimensional poverty and identifying the poor. The censuses are also used to monitor the impact of programs on poverty, as well as the impact of economic shocks and crises at the household level.
Find out more about the CBMS program.
Macro-micro development policy modeling (MPIA)
Building and using economy-wide models as “laboratories” to simulate macro policies or shocks and their impacts on welfare at the household level. This program combines sophisticated techniques of computable general equilibrium (CGE) modelling and household survey-based microsimulation.
Through research under this program, PEP-affiliated experts have developed a series of reference CGE models and related tools that allow more country-specific and extensive applications, including dynamics, global modelling and international financial assets. These tools are available from the PEP website and have already been downloaded by over 750 researchers and policy analysts in more than 110 countries.
Find out more about the MPIA program.
Experimental research (PIERI)
Using experimental research methods to provide rigorous assessments of the impacts of policy interventions on a variety of outcomes – including both expected benefits and unintended effects.
Experimental impact evaluation methods include randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and field experiments, and thus the collection of primary data.
RCTs allow researchers to calculate what program participants would have experienced had they not participated. This is then compared to outcomes actually experienced by participants in the program or policy. These assessments provide sound empirical evidence on the effectiveness of the program and how to improve the design for future programs.
Find out more about the PIERI program.
Microeconomic non-experimental analysis (PMMA)
Designing and applying rigorous techniques of microeconomic non-experimental analysis to understand the effectiveness and distributive effects of public interventions in developing countries. The program also focuses on measuring and analysing multidimensional poverty and inequality, primarily using household survey data.
Research activities conducted through this program have led PEP-affiliated experts to develop innovative software tools for distributive analysis: DAD and DASP (for Stata), available from the PEP website. These tools have been downloaded by more than 7,500 and 9,000 users, respectively, to provide a fuller characterization of the nature, distribution, causes and consequences of poverty.
Find out more about the PMMA program.
Policy Engagement & Communication
To complement the scientific support and encourage research uptake, PEP also provides training and mentorship in policy engagement to all grantees throughout the research cycle. Policy engagement support is thought of as the “fifth component” of the PEP Toolbox.
All PEP grantees are required to develop and implement an effective policy engagement and communication strategy. As well as increasing policy uptake of research findings, researchers who engage wholeheartedly in these activities usually benefit from increased exposure and acknowledgement as field experts at the national level, in turn ensuring the long-term impact of PEP support.
Find out more about PEP’s program to support policy engagement and communication.