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The power of information in public services: Evidence from education in Uganda

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  • Reinikka, Ritva
  • Svensson, Jakob

Abstract

In this paper we argue that innovations in governance of social services are an effective way to improve outcomes such as attainment of universal primary education. To test this hypothesis we exploit an unusual policy experiment: a newspaper campaign in Uganda aimed at reducing the capture of public funds by providing schools (parents) with systematic information to monitor local officials' handling of a large education grant program. Combining survey and administrative data, we show that public access to information can be a powerful deterrent to the capture of funds at the local level and that the reduction in the capture of funds that resulted had a positive effect on school enrollment and learning outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Reinikka, Ritva & Svensson, Jakob, 2011. "The power of information in public services: Evidence from education in Uganda," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 956-966, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:7-8:p:956-966
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jakob Svensson, 2003. "Who Must Pay Bribes and How Much? Evidence from a Cross Section of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 207-230.
    2. Reinikka, Ritva & Svensson, Jakob, 2001. "Explaining Leakage of Public Funds," WIDER Working Paper Series 147, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. 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.
    4. Fran├žois Bourguignon & Maurizio Bussolo & Luiz A. Pereira da Silva, 2008. "The Impact of Macroeconomic Policies on Poverty and Income Distribution : Macro-Micro Evaluation Techniques and Tools," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6586.
    5. Glewwe, Paul & Kremer, Michael, 2006. "Schools, Teachers, and Education Outcomes in Developing Countries," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    6. Priyanka Pandey & Sangeeta Goyal & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2009. "Community participation in public schools: impact of information campaigns in three Indian states," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 355-375.
    7. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel & Rebecca Thornton, 2009. "Incentives to Learn," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 437-456, August.
    8. Jakob Svensson, 2005. "Eight Questions about Corruption," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 19-42, Summer.
    9. Edward Miguel & Michael Kremer, 2004. "Worms: Identifying Impacts on Education and Health in the Presence of Treatment Externalities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 159-217, January.
    10. Benjamin A. Olken, 2007. "Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 200-249.
    11. Di Tella, Rafael & Schargrodsky, Ernesto, 2003. "The Role of Wages and Auditing during a Crackdown on Corruption in the City of Buenos Aires," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(1), pages 269-292, April.
    12. Olken, Benjamin A., 2006. "Corruption and the costs of redistribution: Micro evidence from Indonesia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 853-870, May.
    13. Ritva Reinikka & Paul Collier, 2001. "Uganda's Recovery : The Role of Farms, Firms, and Government," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13850.
    14. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Enrico Moretti, 2006. "Did Iraq Cheat the United Nations? Underpricing, Bribes, and the Oil for Food Program," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1211-1248.
    15. Das, Jishnu, 2004. "Equity in educational expenditures : can government subsidies help?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3249, The World Bank.
    16. Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo, 2004. "Women as Policy Makers: Evidence from a Randomized Policy Experiment in India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1409-1443, September.
    17. Paul Glewwe, 2002. "Schools and Skills in Developing Countries: Education Policies and Socioeconomic Outcomes," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 436-482, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public organizations Educational finance Economic development;

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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