Political Economy & Governance

J-PAL’s Political Economy & Governance sector evaluates policies to improve governance and service delivery through research on issues like political participation, corruption and leakages, and state capacity.

J-PAL's Political Economy & Governance Sector (PEG) aims to provide rigorous evidence on the causes and consequences of poor governance and identify how policy responses can improve governance outcomes. Governments around the world provide their citizens with basic services ranging from policing to health care and education. However, poor governance often compromises the effectiveness of these services. Improving service delivery requires understanding the nature of citizen participation in politics, the role of government institutions that set priorities and create policies, and the factors that influence the effectiveness of policy implementation.

J-PAL affiliates' research in PEG explores critical questions in governance, including how to increase political participation, how to make politicians more accountable to citizens, how to make government officials more effective at delivering services and executing policies without leakages or corruption, and how to use incentives, monitoring, and recruitment to improve state capacity.

The Governance Initiative (GI) seeks to improve participation in the political and policy process, reduce leakages in public programs, and improve state capacity. The submission deadline for GI's spring request for proposals has passed and funding decisions will be announced in mid-May. The next request for proposals will be released in June 2018.  

Man looks over paperwork


What India can learn from Pakistan’s scheme to incentivise its civil servants with better postings

A study by J-PAL affiliates on Pakistan’s civil servants showed that incentivizing officers with a posting of their own choice remarkably improved their performance.


Improving Third-Party Pollution Audits in Gujarat

Research by J-PAL affiliates Esther Duflo, Michael Greenstone, Rohini Pande, and Nicholas Ryan has shown that making environmental auditors more independent improved the accuracy of pollution audit...

Woman voting in India


Women’s reservation bill will bridge the gender gap in political decision-making in India

J-PAL South Asia staff Sohini Mookherjee and Arindam Banerjee discuss evidence from J-PAL affiliates which found that women leaders positively impact policy decisions and rise aspirations among...

Participants attended a leadership training workshop.


Nudging Good Politicians in the Philippines

Researchers conducted a randomized evaluation to test the impact of an all-expense-paid three-day leadership training workshop on incentivizing honest and competent youth to run for a village youth...

Three women engage in manual labor


Fund-flow reforms for improved social program delivery in India

Central and State governments in India have adopted a financial reform to enhance public service delivery informed by evidence.

Man helps a child with schoolwork


Better Governing Through Science

J-PAL's Government Partnership Initiative helps governments evaluate policies, scale up successful ones, and build an internal culture of evidence-informed decision making.

Candidates participating in a filmed debate for the 2012 parliamentary elections in Sierra Leone.


Debates: The Impact of Voter Knowledge Initiatives in Sierra Leone

While political debates are often considered an integral part of campaigns, little evidence exists on the impact of debates on voters and candidates. In Sierra Leone, researchers evaluated the effect...


Community Participation

While increased community participation has been advocated as a way to improve the quality of public projects and services, evidence from randomized evaluations provides very mixed results about its...

Sector Chairs

Benjamin Olken


Rohini Pande


Sector Contacts

Yuen Ho

[email protected]
(617) 324-1980