The Department of Government
The Department of Government

Comparative Speaker Series- Paul Lagunes (Columbia Univ)

Guardians of Accountability: A Field Experiment on Corruption & Inefficiency in Local Public Works

Mon, March 25, 2019 | BAT 5.108

12:00 PM - 2:00 PM


In the construction of public works, the lack of accountability manifests as corruption and inefficiency. Will civil society oversight that is explicitly supported by the relevant authority strengthen accountability? Or will it demoralize and distract officials, thus causing delays? To approach an answer the study builds on a sample of 200 urban and peri-urban district governments in Peru. Half of the districts were randomly selected to enter into a control group. The other half received letters indicating that specific public works under their charge were being monitored by a civil society organization with the support of the country’s leading anti-corruption agency. The results suggest that, even as districts in the two groups completed public works at a similar rate, the intervention lowered the cost of public works in the treatment group. The monitoring intervention resulted in overall efficiency gains.


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