Governance Initiative

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Governance initiative

J-PAL’s Governance Initiative (GI) funds randomized evaluations of interventions designed to improve participation in the political and policy process, reduce corruption and leakages, and improve state capacity. GI's Spring 2017 RFP round is now closed. Decisions will be announced in early May.

By providing targeted funding for rigorous evaluations of the most promising programs to improve governance, GI aims to offer guidance for organizations and governments in developing countries, as well as the donors who provide support to these countries, so that policies can be guided by scientific evidence on what works (or does not work).

GI has two regular funding cycles per year for full research projects, pilot studies, and travel/proposal develpment grants that address open questions outlined in the Governance Review Paper. RFPs are released in June and December, and funding decisions are announced in November and May. Each proposal is reviewed by three referees: an academic reviewer, a policy expert, and a member of the GI Review Board. The Review Board makes final funding decisions. J-PAL affiliates, J-PAL post-docs, and invited researchers are eligible to apply. PhD students, with support from an adviser who is J-PAL affiliate or GI-invited researcher, are also eligible to apply for travel/proposal development grants. Students who have applied for travel/proposal development grants in the past, or have documented evidence of successful piloting activities, are also eligible to apply for up to $50,000 for a pilot or full-scale study. Please email [email protected] with any questions.

Request for Proposals: Application Documents

GI RFP Overview - Spring 2017

Full and Pilot Studies

Full and Pilot Proposal Application Form and Instructions Full Study Budget Template | Pilot Study Budget Template

Travel/Proposal Development Grants

Travel/Proposal Development Grant Application Form and Instructions | Travel/Proposal Development Grant Budget Template

GI is currently accepting proposals from J-PAL affiliates, J-PAL postdocs, and invited researchers for its twelfth round of funding. Three types of proposals will be considered in this round: full research proposals, pilot proposals, and travel/proposal development grants. Proposals are due by 5:00 PM ET on Friday, March 10. Results will be announced in early May. 


J-PAL affiliates Ben Olken (MIT) and Rohini Pande (Harvard Kennedy School)

Review Board

J-PAL affiliates Oriana Bandiera (LSE), Frederico Finan (UC Berkeley), and Asim Khwaja (Harvard Kennedy School)


Support is provided by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

Review paper

The Review Paper summarizes rigorous empirical evidence on governance issues in low-income countries and identifies new directions for research (last updated October 2013, PDF).

Executive Summary (PDF)


GI has funded over fifty evaluations to date.


Learn more about GI events held in GhanaIndia, and Indonesia.


If you have any questions related to J-PAL's Governance Initiative, please email Initiative Manager Yuen Ho