NOVAFRICA Seminar: Targeting Social Assistance with Machine Learning

On Wednesday, April 26th, at 3pm (Lisbon time), on Room B 133 the NOVAFRICA Center welcomes Joshua Blumenstock from University of California, Berkeley to present his work on “Targeting Social Assistance with Machine Learning”.

Joshua Blumenstock

Targeting is a central challenge in the design of anti-poverty programs: given available data, how does one rapidly identify the individuals and families with the greatest need? Here we show that machine learning, applied to non-traditional data from satellites and mobile phones, can improve the targeting of anti-poverty programs. Our analysis is based on data from three field-based projects — in Togo, Afghanistan, and Kenya — that illustrate the promise, as well as some of the potential pitfalls, of this new approach to targeting. Collectively, the results highlight the potential for new data sources to improve humanitarian response efforts, particularly in crisis settings when traditional data are missing or out of date.

Find more about this seminar here.