J-PAL/AUC Initiative for Egypt


The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a global research center working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. Anchored by a network of 181 affiliated professors at universities around the world, J-PAL conducts randomized impact evaluations to answer critical questions in the fight against poverty.

The J-PAL/AUC Initiative for Egypt is a partnership established in September 2018 between J-PAL and the School of Business at the American University in Cairo. The AUC School of Business hosts J-PAL's work in Egypt and supports the work of the Initiative in conducting randomized evaluations, building partnerships for evidence-informed policymaking, and helping partners scale up effective programs. The Initiative also creates opportunities for faculty members from AUC, Egypt, and the MENA region to collaborate with J-PAL affiliates on research projects.

Our work spans a wide range of sectors, including education, finance, and labor. In particular, we focus on issues of high priority to policymakers in the region, including employment, access to finance, refugees and their host communities, and social protection. We partner with researchers from regional universities and collaborate with NGOs, foundations, and governments to help build a culture of evidence-informed decision-making in the region. We conduct capacity building activities for policymakers, researchers, and academics seeking to learn and apply rigorous impact evaluation methods.


Evaluations - Ongoing studies

Graduating the Ultra-Poor in Egypt (Bab Amal)

May 2019 to April 2023

This project is evaluating the impact of the Graduation approach, a program that was launched by BRAC, an international NGO based in Bangladesh, and its effect on household consumption and other indicators for ultra-poor households. The pilot is being done across 2400 households in the Sohag and Assiut governorates.

Assessing the Impact of Job Creation Programs in Upper Egypt: Microcredit

July 2016 to June 2020

What is the most effective type of microcredit product that can improve job creation in Upper Egypt? This evaluation is being conducted to assess the impact of offering different types of microcredit on business creation, business growth, and income generation. This evaluation is designed so that research participants are randomly distributed into 4 groups: group 1 receives loans, group 2 receives cash grants, group 3 receives in-kind grants, and group 4 is offered no capital assistance and serves as a comparison group. 

Assessing the Impact of Job Creation Programs in Upper Egypt: Job Training

July 2016 to June 2020

This study evaluates the impact of offering different types of job training on employment, income generation, and other labor market outcomes. The study addresses questions such as: is vocational training enough to improve employment rates in Upper Egypt? would it be more effective if coupled with on the-job training and job counseling?  This evaluation is designed so that research participants are randomly distributed into 4 groups: group 1 receives vocational training only; Group 2 receives vocational training and on-the-job training; Group 3 receives vocational training, on-the-job training and job counseling; and group 4 receives no training and serves as the comparison group.

Donor Pressure and NGO Performance: Evidence from a Randomized Trial

July 2016 to June 2020

This study randomly informs NGOs that their beneficiaries will be surveyed to provide feedback on their services. The study is looking to measure the outcome of NGO performance based on whether they know that they are being held accountable through beneficiary feedback. 

How to Organize Efficient Matching Services in the Labor Market

This project aims to improve our understanding of the contribution of job fairs in the labor market behavior of jobseekers, how job fairs can be improved to ensure higher attendance and better job matching, and if information frictions regarding job fairs and the labor market, as well as capital constraints negatively affect the job search behavior and outcomes.  

Improving Youth Employment Training in Egypt - Recruitment

March 2016 to June 2020

This evaluation studies how to expand employment driven training for underprivileged youth in Egypt. The study answers questions such as: What skills and competencies are required to effectively train youth to meet labour market demands? What skills do youth need for continued career development? What employer and youth perceptions serve as significant obstacles to the employment of underprivileged youth in private companies? Which methods are most effective at recruiting youth for job training programs? The study focuses on the retail, hospitality, and information technology/business process outsourcing sectors. 

Improving Youth Employment Training in Egypt - Impact

March 2016 to June 2020

This project has four major components: understanding skill demand, supporting the design of effective and efficient employment training program composition, methods for recruiting youth for employment training, and analyzing perceptions. The project will work to link youth with the labor market by training youth on market skills in three main sectors Hospitality, Retail and IT/ It is expected to take about 18 Months and to reach 20,000 youth in the targeted areas. 

Improving Youth Employment Training in Egypt - Market Skills

March 2016 to June 2020

The project will evaluate sector-specific training programs in the hospitality (including tourism), retail, and information technology/business process outsourcing (IT/BPO) sectors that directly respond to employer needs. The results of this analysis are expected to inform the creation of sector-specific training curricula that are truly employment-driven (i.e. providing the soft and technical skills that are required by employers). 

Estimating the Value of Non-Wage Job Attributes

February 2017 to December 2020

In this paper, we use a series of stated preference methods to estimate willingness to pay for certain job attributes using a sample of unemployed individuals from Egypt. As opposed to revealed preference, stated preference methods directly ask individuals about the value they assign to certain attributes and has been predominantly used in environmental economics to price nonmarket goods. We find that the value assigned by job seekers to most attributes included in the survey are very sensitive to the way their WTP was elicited. 

Digital Marketing

May 2019 to December 2020

The main problem we are trying to address is why more firms do not expand their markets by using the new technology of  digital advertising. Digital technology enables firms to overcome information and other frictions that prevent firms and customers connecting across space. However, firms may not adopt this new technology because they lack the knowledge of how to do so, or are uncertain of the returns and consider it risky. We aim to identify which firms can benefit from engaging with and advertising on digital advertising platforms, to explore the reasons why they may not already be doing so, and to test whether input-based versus results-based approaches are most cost-effective for policy. 




Past Events

ILO and J-PAL Executive Education Course, Egypt 2015

Date: October 18 to October 22, 2015

link to event

Reducing Poverty and Promoting Social Development: How Evidence Can Inform Better Policy in MENA: Dr. Abhijit Banerjee

Date: October 2017

link to event



  • Abdelrahman Nagy, Senior Policy Research Manager (

  • Farida El-Gueretly, Policy Manager (

  • Sarah Wahby, Senior Research Associate

  • Noha Fadl, Senior Research Associate

  • Rahma Ali, Senior Research Associate

  • Engy Saleh, Senior Research Associate

  • Norhan Muhab, Senior Research Associate

  • Ahmed El Sheikh, Senior Research Associate

  • Ola Eltoukhi, Research Associate

  • Eslam Serag, Research Operations Manager

  • Mohamed Yousef, Research Operations Manager

  • Mohamed Omar, Research Operations Manager

  • Mahmoud Hussein, Field Coordinator

  • Mariam George, Field Coordinator

  • Ayman Taha, Field Coordinator

  • Mohamed Ghandour, Field Coordinator