Political Economy & Governance

J-PAL’s Political Economy & Governance sector works to identify policies and programs that improve service delivery and make governments more responsive to citizens’ needs. Research and policy outreach focuses on increasing citizens’ political participation, reducing corruption and leakages, and building state capacity to deliver services.

Governments around the world spend billions of dollars every year to provide citizens with basic services. But the effectiveness of public spending can be compromised by policies that do not reflect the needs or wishes of citizens, losses and inefficiencies due to corruption, limited oversight of public spending, and poor performance of civil servants.

J-PAL affiliates' research in this sector includes studies on how to increase political participation and hold politicians more accountable to citizens, how to reduce corruption in service delivery, and how to use recruitment, monitoring, and incentives to improve government performance.

In addition to supporting policymakers in applying evidence from randomized evaluations to their work, J-PAL’s Political Economy and Governance sector chairs and staff write policy insights that synthesize general lessons emerging from the research, condense results from evaluations in policy publications and evaluation summaries, and fund new research through the Governance Initiative to answer critical policy-relevant questions. 

Political posters in India
Policy Insight

Improving women’s representation in politics through gender quotas

Gender quotas for women in local government bodies can improve women’s representation in politics, increase provision of public services, and improve perceptions of women as leaders.

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
Evidence to Policy

Strengthening third-party audits to reduce pollution

Evidence from a randomized evaluation informed the scale-up of a pollution audit policy in Gujarat, India.

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 teenage girls.

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 council. 

Three women engage in manual labor in India
Evidence to Policy

Fund flow reform for social program delivery

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.

Sector Chairs

Co-Chair, Political Economy & Governance

Associate Professor of Economics and Business Administration

University of California, Berkley

Co-Chair, Political Economy & Governance

Professor of Economics and Director of Economic Growth Center

Yale University

Sector Contacts

Adil Ababou headshot

Policy Manager, J-PAL Global

Senior Policy Associate, J-PAL Global

Senior Policy & Communications Manager, J-PAL Global