Department of Economics
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22904
Institutional Affiliation: University of Virginia
Information about this author at RePEc
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|November 2018||Improving Last-Mile Service Delivery using Phone-Based Monitoring|
with Karthik Muralidharan, Paul Niehaus, Jeffrey Weaver: w25298
Improving “last-mile” public-service delivery is a recurring challenge in developing countries. Could the widespread adoption of mobile phones provide a scalable, cost-effective means for improvement? We use a large-scale experiment to evaluate the impact of phone-based monitoring on a program that transferred nearly a billion dollars to 5.7 million Indian farmers. In randomly-selected jurisdictions, officials were informed that program implementation would be measured via calls with beneficiaries. This led to a 7.6% reduction in the number of farmers who did not receive their transfers. The program was highly cost-effective, costing 3.6 cents for each additional dollar delivered.
|September 2017||General Equilibrium Effects of (Improving) Public Employment Programs: Experimental Evidence from India|
with Karthik Muralidharan, Paul Niehaus: w23838
A public employment program's effect on poverty depends on both program earnings and market impacts. We estimate this composite effect, exploiting a large-scale randomized experiment across 157 sub-districts and 19 million people that improved the implementation of India's employment guarantee. Without changing government expenditure, this reform raised low-income households' earnings by 13%, driven primarily by market earnings. Real wages rose 6% while days without paid work fell 7%. Effects spilled over across sub-district boundaries, and adjusting for these spillovers substantially raises point estimates. The results highlight the importance and feasibility of accounting for general equilibrium effects in program evaluation.
|March 2014||Building State Capacity: Evidence from Biometric Smartcards in India|
with Karthik Muralidharan, Paul Niehaus: w19999
Anti-poverty programs in developing countries are often difficult to implement; in particular, many governments lack the capacity to deliver payments securely to targeted beneficiaries. We evaluate the impact of biometrically-authenticated payments infrastructure ("Smartcards") on beneficiaries of employment (NREGS) and pension (SSP) programs in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, using a large-scale experiment that randomized the rollout of Smartcards over 158 sub- districts and 19 million people. We find that, while incompletely implemented, the new system delivered a faster, more predictable, and less corrupt NREGS payments process without adversely affecting program access. For each of these outcomes, treatment group distributions first-order stochastically dominated those of the contr...
Published: Karthik Muralidharan & Paul Niehaus & Sandip Sukhtankar, 2016. "Building State Capacity: Evidence from Biometric Smartcards in India," American Economic Review, vol 106(10), pages 2895-2929. citation courtesy of