Political Economy and Governance
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.
Increasing accountability and reducing corruption through government audits
Government audits have often increased political accountability, reduced misuse of public resources, and improved compliance with laws and regulations. In lower- and middle-income countries, audits have been more effective when the government had a stronger capacity to enforce punishments, when...
Pushing the boundaries of governance, crime, and conflict research: Innovations in research, measurement, and design
In 2017, J-PAL and IPA jointly launched the Governance, Crime, and Conflict Initiative to increase our understanding of effective policies to promote peace and good governance, reduce crime, and support individuals and communities recovering from conflict. With three years of research behind us, we...
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.
New study: In Iraq, mixed-religion soccer teams helped build social cohesion, healed wounds after war
A new study, released today in Science, points to a way to help repair social ties and promote coexistence after war. New findings show that among persecuted Christians in post-ISIS Iraq, playing on soccer teams with Muslim players helped promote more open attitudes toward Muslims, but only Muslim players in their league, and not beyond.
Information and mediation to improve labor courts
The Government of Mexico used insights from a randomized evaluation to inform a national labor law.
Strengthening third-party audits to reduce pollution
Evidence from a randomized evaluation informed the scale-up of a pollution audit policy in Gujarat, India.
Nudging Good Politicians
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.
IPA and J-PAL announce US$16 million grant from UK government to fund new research on solutions to challenges in governance, crime and conflict, and peace and recovery
The UK Department for International Development (DFID) jointly awarded J-PAL and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) a US$16 million grant to generate new research on effective policies to promote peace and good governance, reduce crime, and support communities recovering from conflict, including a project on earthquake resettlement in Nepal.