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Social audits and MGNREGA delivery: Lessons from Andhra Pradesh

Farzana Afridi and Vegard Iversen ()
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Vegard Iversen: University of Manchester

Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers from Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India

Abstract: In spite of widespread acclaims of ?social` audits as lowcost and powerful participatory tools that can bolster awareness and improve public service delivery , a key policy question is what such audits have been able to achieve. Using a unique panel data set assembled from official social audit reports, we study the impact of audits on programme irregularities and employment generation during MGNREG A implementation in Andhra Pradesh. Within a dynamic conceptual framework where beneficiaries , auditors and transgressors interact and learn and where beneficiary stakes vary across programme outcome and irregularity types , we find a positive but insignificant impact of audits on employment generation. We also find a modest decline in complaints related to non-availability of work and in the leakage amount per labour related irregularity: outcomes with high beneficiary stakes. The latter occur alongside an increase in harder to detect material - related irregularities with lower beneficiary stakes. We find evidence suggestive of beneficiary learning from audit participation and of audit effectiveness in detecting irregularities. In contrast, the impact of repeated audits in deterring irregularities are mostly absent, and highlight the need for a time bound process where transgressors are punished and responsibilities for follow up of social audit findings are laid out and credibly enforced.

Pages: 48 pages
Date: 2014-01
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Journal Article: Social Audits and MGNREGA Delivery: Lessons from Andhra Pradesh (2014) Downloads
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