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E-governance, Accountability, and Leakage in Public Programs: Experimental Evidence from a Financial Management Reform in India

Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, Clément Imbert, Santhosh Mathew and Rohini Pande

American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2020, vol. 12, issue 4, 39-72

Abstract: Can e-governance reforms improve government policy? By making information available on a real-time basis, information technologies may reduce the theft of public funds. We analyze a large field experiment and the nationwide scale-up of a reform to India's workfare program. Advance payments were replaced by "just-in-time" payments, triggered by e-invoicing, making it easier to detect misreporting. Leakages went down: program expenditures dropped by 24 percent, while employment slightly increased; there were fewer fake households in the official database; and program officials' personal wealth fell by 10 percent. However, payment delays increased. The nationwide scale-up resulted in a persistent 19 percent reduction in program expenditure.

JEL-codes: C93 D72 I38 O15 O17 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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Related works:
Working Paper: E-governance, Accountability, and Leakage in Public Programs: Experimental Evidence from a Financial Management Reform in India (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: E-governance, Accountability, and Leakage in Public Programs: Experimental Evidence from a Financial Management Reform in India (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: E-Governance, Accountability, and Leakage in Public Programs: Experimental Evidence from a Financial Management Reform in India (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: E-governance, Accountability, and Leakage in Public Programs: Experimental Evidence from a Financial Management Reform in India (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: E-governance, Accountability, and Leakage in Public Programs: Experimental Evidence from a Financial Management Reform in India (2016) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1257/app.20180302

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