Building policymaker capacity to use evidence: A long-term partnership
In order to improve the delivery of social programs, public officials and civil servants must be effective users and producers of evidence. LBS National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA)—India’s premier civil service training academy—signed a memorandum of understanding with J-PAL South Asia, formalizing a partnership which began in 2011. The three-year MoU ensures continued collaboration to strengthen senior civil servants’ understanding of evaluation methodology, existing evidence of what works, and how impact evaluations can be used to make better policy decisions.
LBSNAA trains high-level civil servants and public officials, including the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officers who play a vital role in enacting state- and national-level policy in India. J-PAL South Asia has been closely collaborating with LBSNAA since 2011 across many of its training programs, including Phases 1 and 2 for entry-level IAS officers, Phase 3 for heads of district administration, and Phase 4 for secretaries to state departments like education and health. As part of this training, many J-PAL affiliated researchers and senior staff have lectured at the academy, including Abhijit Banerjee (MIT), Marianne Bertrand (University of Chicago), Karthik Muralidharan (UCSD), Rohini Pande (Harvard), and Iqbal Dhaliwal, Deputy Director of J-PAL. In 2014 J-PAL South Asia also worked with LBSNAA to pioneer the use of flipped classrooms where officer-trainees saw videos of lectures in development economics delivered by J-PAL Directors Abhijit Banerjee (MIT) and Esther Duflo (MIT) and LBSNAA faculty led in-class case studies. Since then, J-PAL South Asia has worked with LBSNAA to create custom case studies for various courses at LBSNAA.
As part of the MoU, LBSNAA and J-PAL South Asia will partner on a broad range of activities that demonstrate the importance of evidence to these future policymakers, including lectures by J-PAL affiliates and staff, technical training courses, field visits for officers to see ongoing research, and jointly organized events that connect policymakers and researchers.
Rajeev Kapoor, Director of LBSNAA, and Iqbal Dhaliwal, Deputy Director of J-PAL, met on LBSNAA’s campus in Mussoorie to finalize the MoU in the presence of Tejveer Singh, Joint Director of LBSNAA and Aswathy Sivada, Deputy Director of LBSNAA (all pictured above). While visiting the academy, Iqbal also delivered his annual address to the new class of 180 IAS officers during their induction training. He spoke about the role of randomized evaluations in evidence-based policymaking and the importance of measuring the impact of social programs.