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. GI's fall 2017 request for proposals is now closed. Decisions will be announced in mid-November.


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...

Man feed ballot into ballot box while volunteers help voters in background


Radio Public Service Announcements and Voter Participation Among Native Americans in the United States

Can media campaigns increase voter turnout among ethnic minorities? Researchers randomly assigned areas covered by Native American radio programming to either receive or not receive targeted radio...

Fishermen in Chile on the docks


Engaging Consumers to Promote Sustainable Fishing in Chile

Sernapesca partnered with J-PAL affiliate and Environment and Energy sector co-chair Mushfiq Mobarak (Yale) and Andrés Gonzalez (UC Berkeley) to conduct a randomized evaluation comparing a consumer...

Police training improves public perception and police morale.


Police Skills Training

Training police officers in personality development skills was found to improve victim satisfaction and investigation quality. This evidence has contributed to the scale-up of police skills training...


Peace, Recovery, and Reconciliation: Randomized Evaluations in Post-Conflict Environments

Twenty-five years ago, Sierra Leone plunged into a decade-long civil war, during which neighbor turned on neighbor, 50,000 people were killed, and over half the population had to flee their homes....


Governance Initiative Review Paper

The Governance Review Paper summarizes empirically rigorous academic literature on political economy and governance issues in low-income countries and identifies gaps in the literature which...


Paying for Performance

Performance pay for tax officials in Punjab, Pakistan significantly increased tax revenues without harming taxpayer satisfaction.

Sector Chairs

Benjamin Olken


Rohini Pande


Sector Contacts

Yuen Ho

[email protected]
(617) 324-1980