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Social Audits and MGNREGA Delivery: Lessons from Andhra Pradesh

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  • Afridi, Farzana

    ()
    (Indian Statistical Institute)

  • Iversen, Vegard

    ()
    (University of Manchester)

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    Abstract

    In spite of widespread acclaims of social audits as low-cost and powerful participatory tools that can bolster awareness and improve public service delivery, a key policy question is what such audits have achieved so far. Using a unique panel data set assembled from official social audit reports, we study the impact of these audits on MGNREGA delivery in Andhra Pradesh, India. Within a dynamic conceptual framework where beneficiaries, auditors and transgressors interact and learn and where beneficiary stakes vary across programme outcomes and irregularity types, we find a positive but insignificant impact of audits on employment generation and a modest decline in the leakage amount per labour related irregularity. These are outcomes with high beneficiary stakes. The latter occur alongside an increase in 'harder to detect' material-related irregularities with lower beneficiary stakes. Although we find evidence suggestive of beneficiary 'learning' from audit participation and of audit effectiveness in detecting irregularities, repeated audits did not deter irregularities. This highlights the need for a time bound process where transgressors are punished and responsibilities for follow-up of social audit findings are laid out and credibly enforced. Our findings suggest a changing anatomy of corruption, where transgressors keep one step ahead of auditors and respond to more intense scrutiny by locating new avenues for rent extraction.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 8095.

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    Length: 50 pages
    Date of creation: Apr 2014
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: forthcoming in: India Policy Forum
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8095

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    Related research

    Keywords: MGNREGA; social audits; corruption;

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    References

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    1. Benjamin A. Olken, 2006. "Corruption Perceptions vs. Corruption Reality," NBER Working Papers 12428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Kalanidhi Subbarao & Carlo del Ninno & Colin Andrews & Claudia Rodríguez-Alas, 2013. "Public Works as a Safety Net : Design, Evidence, and Implementation," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 11882, October.
    3. Martina Björkman & Jakob Svensson, 2009. "Power to the People: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment on Community-Based Monitoring in Uganda," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 735-769, May.
    4. Benjamin A. Olken & Rohini Pande, 2011. "Corruption in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 17398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Ghazala Mansuri & Vijayendra Rao, 2013. "Localizing Development : Does Participation Work?," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 11859, October.
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