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Improving Last-Mile Service Delivery using Phone-Based Monitoring

Karthik Muralidharan, Paul Niehaus, Sandip Sukhtankar and Jeffrey Weaver

No 25298, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: 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.

JEL-codes: C93 D73 H53 O33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018-11
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Published as Karthik Muralidharan & Paul Niehaus & Sandip Sukhtankar & Jeffrey Weaver, 2021. "Improving Last-Mile Service Delivery Using Phone-Based Monitoring," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 52-82, April.

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