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Grain inflation: Identifying agent discretion in response to a conditional school nutrition program

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  • Linden, Leigh L.
  • Shastry, Gauri Kartini

Abstract

Many incentive programs rely on local agents with significant discretion to allocate benefits. We estimate the degree of discretion exercised by teachers within a conditional transfer program designed to improve nutrition and encourage student attendance in Mumbai, India. The program allocates grain to students every month their attendance exceeds 80%, creating an incentive for teachers to inflate attendance to benefit certain students. We find that teachers manipulate students' records, altering the incentives to attend school. The teachers' response also varies across students. Teachers inflate more for girls, better students, and students from lower castes, but less for Muslim students.

Suggested Citation

  • Linden, Leigh L. & Shastry, Gauri Kartini, 2012. "Grain inflation: Identifying agent discretion in response to a conditional school nutrition program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 128-138.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:99:y:2012:i:1:p:128-138 DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2011.11.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Shawn Cole & Esther Duflo & Leigh Linden, 2007. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1235-1264.
    2. César Martinelli & Susan Wendy Parker, 2009. "Deception and Misreporting in a Social Program," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, pages 886-908.
    3. Brian A. Jacob & Steven D. Levitt, 2003. "Rotten Apples: An Investigation of the Prevalence and Predictors of Teacher Cheating," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 843-877.
    4. Alderman, Harold, 2002. "Do local officials know something we don't? Decentralization of targeted transfers in Albania," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 375-404.
    5. Jeni Klugman, 1997. "Decentralization: A survey from a child welfare perspective," Papers iopeps97/6, Innocenti Occasional Papers, Economic Policy Series.
    6. Das, Jishnu, 2004. "Equity in educational expenditures : can government subsidies help?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3249, The World Bank.
    7. Felipe Barrera-Osorio & Marianne Bertrand & Leigh L. Linden & Francisco Perez-Calle, 2011. "Improving the Design of Conditional Transfer Programs: Evidence from a Randomized Education Experiment in Colombia," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 167-195, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cilliers, Jacobus & Kasirye, Ibrahim & Leaver, Clare & Serneels, Pieter & Zeitlin, Andrew, 2016. "Pay for Locally Monitored Performance? A Welfare Analysis for Teacher Attendance in Ugandan Primary Schools," IZA Discussion Papers 10118, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Karthik Muralidharan & Nishith Prakash, 2017. "Cycling to School: Increasing Secondary School Enrollment for Girls in India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 321-350, July.
    3. Gertler, Paul J. & Patrinos, Harry Anthony & Rubio-Codina, Marta, 2012. "Empowering parents to improve education: Evidence from rural Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 68-79.
    4. Benjamin A. Olken & Junko Onishi & Susan Wong, 2014. "Should Aid Reward Performance? Evidence from a Field Experiment on Health and Education in Indonesia," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 1-34, October.
    5. Asim,Salman & Chase,Robert S. & Dar,Amit & Schmillen,Achim Daniel, 2015. "Improving education outcomes in South Asia : findings from a decade of impact evaluations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7362, The World Bank.
    6. Singh, Prakarsh, 2011. "Performance Pay and Information: Reducing Child Malnutrition in Urban Slums," MPRA Paper 29403, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Gertler, Paul J. & Patrinos, Harry Anthony & Rubio-Codina, Marta, 2012. "Empowering parents to improve education: Evidence from rural Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 68-79.
    8. James Berry, 2015. "Child Control in Education Decisions: An Evaluation of Targeted Incentives to Learn in India," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(4), pages 1051-1080.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    School meals; Conditional transfer programs; Decentralization; Nutrition; Education;

    JEL classification:

    • H - Public Economics
    • I - Health, Education, and Welfare
    • O - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth

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