Payments and Governance Research Program
About the Program | Team | Completed and Ongoing Evaluations | In the News
Evaluating the Andhra Pradesh Smartcard Program
Researchers tested how Smartcards, which coupled electronic transfers with biometric authentication, affected the functioning of two important government welfare schemes in India. They found that even though the new Smartcard system was not fully implemented, it resulted in a faster and less corrupt payments process without adversely affecting program access. Investing in Smartcards was cost-effective, and beneficiaries overwhelmingly approved of the new payment system.
- Building State Capacity: Evidence from Biometric Smartcards in India | American Economic Review | 2016
- General Equilibrium Effects of (Improving) Public Employment Programs: Experimental Evidence from India | Working Paper
- Experimentation at Scale | Journal of Economic Perspectives | (forthcoming)
Reports and media coverage
- Smartcards for Smarter Payments | J-PAL Policy Briefcase | 2017
- Improving Governance Through Biometric Authentication and Secure Payments in India | Evaluation Summary
- Smartcards for Smarter payments | VoxDev.org | June 29, 2017
- Lessons from Andhra Pradesh: Building State Capacities for Welfare | liveMINT | Dec 03, 2014
Process Monitoring of DBT in India's Public Distribution System: The Experience in Three Union Territories
In 2016, the Government of India launched direct benefits transfers (DBT) in lieu of food rations provided through the Public Distribution System in three Union Territories (Chandigarh, Puducherry and Dadra and Nagar Haveli). Under a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding with NITI Aayog and the Department of Food and Public Distribution, Government of India, the Payments and Governance Research Program conducted a process monitoring study of DBT in food from January 2016 to March 2017. The process monitoring comprised three rounds of household surveys conducted with a representative sample in each Union Territory and sought to reveal insights about: (1) Scheme coverage and consistency and regularity of payments; (2) Beneficiary expectations, preferences, and grievances across the old and new schemes; (3) Costs incurred by beneficiaries in both schemes.
- Direct Benefits Transfers in Food: Results from One Year of Process Monitoring in Union Territories | NITI Report | September 2017
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Evaluation of the use of Electronic Point of Sale devices in Fair Price Shops in Jharkhand
The Payments and Governance Research Program is working with the Government of Jharkhand on a randomized evaluation of the impact of introducing biometric authentication in the Public Distribution System (PDS). This study, the first randomized evaluation under this program, aims to provide high-quality evidence on the impact of biometric authentication in the PDS on leakage and beneficiary experiences in a state with challenging terrain and one of India’s highest rates of historically disadvantaged scheduled tribe populations. The study is being carried out across ten districts (with randomization at the block level). A baseline survey for the study was completed in August 2016, and the team is currently completing the endline survey.
Findings and Recommendations
- Preliminary results forthcoming in early 2018
Cash Transfers for Early Childhood Health and Nutrition
The Payments and Governance Research Program is working with the Department of Women and Child Development in Jharkhand and conducting an experiment under the Integrated Child Development Scheme to test the impact of unconditional cash transfers to pregnant and lactating mothers on early childhood health and nutrition. The project has started in June 2017 and at the Proof of Concept (PoC) phase.
Findings and Recommendations
- Preliminary results forthcoming in 2019