On Friday, 9 February 2018, the Centre for Experimental Social Sciences (CESS) Nuffield – FLAME University hosted Jan E. Cooper, Postdoctoral Fellow at the MIT Poverty Action Lab, J-PAL South Asia. Dr. Cooper’s research focuses on using monetary incentives for health promotion, with a particular focus on the role of women’s decision-making power in cash transfer interventions. Previously, Dr. Cooper worked with UC Berkeley and the World Bank on randomized evaluations of conditional cash transfers to reduce sexually transmitted infections and HIV in Tanzania, and with the Harvard School of Public Health on a randomized clinical trial of the prevention of Mother-to-Child transmission of HIV.
During her lecture, Dr. Cooper presented work done in Tanzania, where results showed that women’s power in a relationship modified the effectiveness of conditional cash transfers on the incidence of sexually transmitted infections. She used these results as a starting point to discuss her current work in India, where economic incentives have great potential to break the cycle of poverty and improve health outcomes. During her engagement with the FLAME audience, Dr. Cooper explained her research plans in India, which explores women’s power in the context of randomized trials of cash transfer interventions for child health, and will develop a new instrument to measure women’s empowerment in the context of cash transfer programs for health promotion.