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GPRL’s Ghana Cluster encompasses a range of studies, capacity-building efforts, and policy initiatives aimed at understanding and promoting development in Ghana. We focus especially on large-scale impact evaluations of programs relating to agriculture, education, health, livelihood, and social protection. Our partners include: University of Ghana, Innovations for Poverty Action, the Ghanaian government, and Heifer International, in addition to many local nongovernmental organizations and enterprises.
One of our major research activities within this cluster is the Ghana Socioeconomic Panel Survey (GSPS), a joint effort between the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana (Legon, Ghana), the Global Poverty Research Lab (GPRL) at Northwestern University, and the Economic Growth Center (EGC) at Yale University. The survey is meant to remedy a major constraint on the understanding of development in low-income countries - the absence of detailed, multi-level and long-term scientific data that follows individuals over time and describes both the natural and man-made environment in which the individuals reside. Most data collection efforts are short-term - carried out at one point in time; and limited in scope – collecting information on only a few aspects of the lives of the persons in the study; and when there are multiple rounds of data collection, individuals who leave the study area are dropped. This means that the most mobile people are not included in existing surveys and studies, perhaps substantially biasing inferences about who benefits from and who bears the cost of the development process. The goal of this project is to follow all individuals, or a random subset, over time using a comprehensive set of survey instruments to shed new light on long-run processes of economic development. Three waves of the survey have been conducted so far, in 2009-10, 2013-14, and 2017-18, respectively. In 2019, the Ghana Panel Survey was also administered to a sample of participants in Ghana’s rural north who had been classified as “extremely poor” through community-level focus groups.
GSPS data availability:
The next wave of the GSPS is now being planned.