In Uganda, district governments are responsible for providing vital public services such as healthcare and education, but government accountability is relatively weak, leading to under-provision and low quality of services. Researchers worked with IPA to evaluate the impact of a program designed to improve local government accountability and the provision of services: disseminating information to citizens about district politicians’ performance via scorecards.

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Growing evidence from psychology and behavioral economics research shows that behavior can be influenced by leveraging social norms and emotions. Researchers examined the effect of a series of informational messages on participation in a recycling program in Peru. The messages sought to elicit pressures such as social norms, peer comparison, conformity, authority, and the environmental or social benefits to increased participation.

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While the accountability and inclusiveness of institutions are often considered key determinants of economic performance, there is little agreement about how institutions should be designed. Researchers evaluated the impact of a community-driven development program in Sierra Leone designed to establish more inclusive and accountable local decision-making infrastructure by providing villages with small development grants to be allocated by village committees.

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Access to transportation is generally considered to be a fundamental determinant of economic growth and a significant factor in an individual’s health, schooling, and economic status. In Malawi, researchers studied the introduction of a daily minibus service that connected five rural villages and the nearby market town. Although a majority of households used the new bus service, demand was very sensitive to price and was never sufficient to cover operational costs.

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There is substantial evidence that media sources have identifiable political slants, but there has been relatively little rigorous study into the impact of media on political views and behaviors.  IPA designed a natural field experiment to measure the effect of exposure to newspapers on political behavior and opinion.

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The introduction of free primary education has raised primary school enrollment in many developing countries, but the resulting overcrowding of schools and influx of students with little preparation poses new challenges to policymakers. Researchers evaluated three interventions that addressed the large class sizes and heterogeneity in student preparation in the Kenyan school system.

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Kenya’s education system blends substantial centralization with elements of local control and school choice.  This project looks at the system of incentives created by elements of decentralization.

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