Improving Last-Mile Service Delivery Using Phone-Based Monitoring

48 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2018

See all articles by Karthik Muralidharan

Karthik Muralidharan

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

Paul Niehaus

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

Sandip Sukhtankar

Dartmouth College

Jeffrey Weaver

University of Southern California

Date Written: November 2018

Abstract

Improving “last-mile” public-service delivery is a recurring challenge in developing countries. Could the widespread adoption of mobile phones provide a scalable, cost-effective means for improvement? We use a large-scale experiment to evaluate the impact of phone-based monitoring on a program that transferred nearly a billion dollars to 5.7 million Indian farmers. In randomly-selected jurisdictions, officials were informed that program implementation would be measured via calls with beneficiaries. This led to a 7.6% reduction in the number of farmers who did not receive their transfers. The program was highly cost-effective, costing 3.6 cents for each additional dollar delivered.

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Suggested Citation

Muralidharan, Karthik and Niehaus, Paul and Sukhtankar, Sandip and Weaver, Jeffrey, Improving Last-Mile Service Delivery Using Phone-Based Monitoring (November 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w25298. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3290433

Karthik Muralidharan (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
La Jolla, CA 92093-0112
United States

Paul Niehaus

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
La Jolla, CA 92093-0112
United States

Sandip Sukhtankar

Dartmouth College ( email )

Jeffrey Weaver

University of Southern California

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