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Data and Policy Decisions: Experimental Evidence from Pakistan

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  • Michael Callen
  • Saad Gulzar
  • Syed Ali Hasanain
  • Muhammad Yasir Khan
  • Arman B. Rezaee

Abstract

We evaluate a program in Pakistan that equips government health inspectors with a smartphone app which channels data on rural clinics to senior policy makers. The system led to rural clinics being inspected 104% more often after 6 months, but only 43.8% more often after a year, with the latter estimate not attaining significance at conventional levels. There is also no clear evidence that the increase in inspections led to increases in general staff attendance. In addition, we test whether senior officials act on the information provided by the system. Focusing only on districts where the app is deployed, we find that highlighting poorly performing facilities on a dashboard viewed by supervisors raises doctor attendance by 75%. Our results indicate that technology may be able to mobilize data to useful effect, even in low capacity settings

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Callen & Saad Gulzar & Syed Ali Hasanain & Muhammad Yasir Khan & Arman B. Rezaee, 2020. "Data and Policy Decisions: Experimental Evidence from Pakistan," NBER Working Papers 27678, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27678
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew Dustan & Juan Manuel Hernandez-Agramonte & Stanislao Maldonado, 2018. "Motivating bureaucrats with non-monetary incentives when state capacity is weak: Evidence from large-scale," Natural Field Experiments 00664, The Field Experiments Website.
    2. Sultan Mehmood, 2020. "Judicial Independence and Development: Evidence from Pakistan," Working Papers halshs-03054106, HAL.
    3. Sultan Mehmood, 2021. "The impact of Presidential appointment of judges: Montesquieu or the Federalists?," AMSE Working Papers 2118, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, France.
    4. Karthik Muralidharan & Paul Niehaus & Sandip Sukhtankar & Jeffrey Weaver, 2021. "Improving Last-Mile Service Delivery Using Phone-Based Monitoring," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 52-82, April.
    5. Ernesto Dal Bó & Frederico Finan & Nicholas Y. Li & Laura Schechter, 2021. "Information Technology and Government Decentralization: Experimental Evidence From Paraguay," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 89(2), pages 677-701, March.
    6. Dustan, Andrew & Maldonado, Stanislao & Hernandez-Agramonte, Juan Manuel, 2018. "Motivating bureaucrats with non-monetary incentives when state capacity is weak: Evidence from large-scale field experiments in Peru," MPRA Paper 90952, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Sultan Mehmood, 2021. "The impact of Presidential appointment of judges: Montesquieu or the Federalists?," Working Papers halshs-03161933, HAL.
    8. Sultan Mehmood, 2020. "Judicial Independence and Development: Evidence from Pakistan," AMSE Working Papers 2041, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, France.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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