Poor leadership, weak political participation, and corruption by elected officials are widely considered to exacerbate and perpetuate poverty. While countless programs aim to address these issues, many questions about improving governance remain unanswered. IPA works to rigorously evaluate interventions aimed at promoting democracy, reducing corruption, and improving the performance of elected leaders.

Governments around the world spend billions of dollars annually to provide basic services to the poor, and major development organizations channel huge sums of their development dollars through government-run programs. However, the effectiveness of such public spending is often undermined by poor oversight, corruption, lack of community participation, and policies that do not reflect the needs or wishes of the people. While countless programs aim to address these issues, many questions about improving governance remain unanswered.

IPA works to rigorously evaluate interventions aimed at promoting democracy, reducing corruption, and improving the performance of political leaders. In partnership with academic leaders in the fields, our work has produced evidence on vote-buying, increasing the demand for government accountability, using technology to reduce corruption and how voter education impacts actual voting behavior.

Learn about funding opportunities for research on governance from J-PAL’s Governance Initiative and read their review of the literature on the sector.

Key Findings