Pascaline Dupas had a cool idea. She would offer free insecticide-treated mosquito bed nets to pregnant women in western Kenya who signed up for prenatal care at government clinics. Not only would their children get to sleep under a bed net, but once in prenatal care they would also get malaria prophylaxis and, if needed, treatment to prevent fetal transmission of HIV. An economist affiliated with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab in Cambridge, Mass., Dupas maintained a healthy skepticis…

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