American Institutes for Research

American Institutes for Research (AIR) is committed to the design, implementation and use of mixed-methods evaluations and systematic reviews in international development. AIR’s work has included mixed-methods impact and process evaluations of agricultural programmes in Benin, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali and Uganda; early childhood development programmes in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Peru; gender socialisation programmes in Uganda and Nigeria; a housing programme in India; nutrition programmes in Zambia and Bangladesh; and social cash transfer programmes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Zimbabwe. AIR is also conducting systematic reviews on early grade reading in Latin America and on the impact of vocational and business training. The characteristics of AIR’s evaluations contribute to evidence-informed policy. For example, AIR’s evaluation of the Zambian cash transfer programme found positive effects on a wide array of outcomes. The findings contributed to the Zambian government’s decision to scale-up the programme.

Member Since: 2013 Country: United States Website

Overview of engagement

AIR is an active 3ie member and committed to building a culture of evidence for development decision-making. AIR has made valuable contributions to member peer-learning activities, partnered with 3ie on presentations in Delhi, London, and Washington, DC, and conducted workshops on the use of theories of change and presentations on several impact evaluations and systematic reviews during the What Works Global Summit 2016, which was co-organised by 3ie. As a 3ie grantee, AIR is in close communication with 3ie’s Synthesis and Reviews Office on their systematic review of impact evaluations of interventions to increase women’s participation in the workforce. AIR is currently conducting two 3ie-funded impact evaluations of agricultural programmes in Kenya and Madagascar.

Examples of 3ie engagement

Community of practice:

  • Participation in the What Works Global Summit, September 2016AIR CEO David Myers gave one of the keynote lectures during the What Works Global Summit. AIR senior director David Seidenfeld and AIR senior researcher Thomas de Hoop conducted a workshop on defining the assumptions of the theory of change. AIR senior researchers Hannah Ring, Juan Bonilla, Marjorie Chinen, Arianna Zanolini and Thomas de Hoop, and researcher Andrea Coombes also gave presentations on the impact of unconditional cash transfers in sub-Saharan Africa, the effectiveness of early childhood development programmes in international development and a systematic review on early grade reading in Latin America and the Caribbean during the summit.
  • In January 2016, AIR senior researcher Thomas de Hoop presented at 3ie Delhi Seminar Series on Can self-help group programmes improve women’s empowerment? A video of the presentation can be viewed here.
  • 3ie’s former executive director Howard White presented a talk, Fieldwork ‘is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see’ and other lessons, at an AIR staff-wide learning event in 2015.

3ie governance:  

  • Thomas de Hoop was on the organising committee of 3ie members’ conferences of 2014 and 2015, and helped build the agenda and secure speakers for the peer-learning segments of the events.

Research grant:

  • AIR received a grant through 3ie’s seventh systematic review window (SR7) to conduct research on What is the effectiveness of interventions to increase women's participation in higher skilled, higher valued occupations in low and middle income countries?
  • AIR also received two grants under 3ie’s Agricultural Innovations Thematic Window to conduct impact evaluations of agricultural programmes in Kenya and Madagascar.

3ie membership is important because it enables AIR to participate in a community of practice with the commitment to produce and use rigorous impact evaluations and systematic reviews for evidence-informed policy. 3ie membership also provides AIR with the opportunity to engage with policymakers with a commitment to using evidence-informed policy during conferences and other events.

Thomas de Hoop
senior researcher, AIR