Billions of dollars are spent each year on interventions intended to reduce extreme poverty. But many of those interventions fall short — or even fail — because they have not been properly tested before being brought to scale. The result is a waste of donor money and continued suffering for the poor whose lives do not end up being improved.

The type of research conducted by Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, and Michael Kremer — the 2019 Nobel Laureates in economics shown above — is the best defense against exactly that. Their experiment-based approach to researching effective interventions on problems like education access and child health in the developing world has considerably improved the fight against global poverty.

To give away money is an easy matter and in any man’s power. But to decide to whom to give it…is neither in every man’s power, nor an easy matter.

Their work has also influenced which charities we recommend: nearly all utilize groundbreaking research into what will sustainably improve life for the global poor. Organizations like Innovations for Poverty Action are instrumental in supporting that research (in fact, Banerjee, Duflo, and Kremer are all IPA-affiliated researchers). IPA has conducted many of the randomized controlled trials our recommended charities rely on to guide their work — so much so that they are our recommended research charity.