Using Information and Technology to Improve Efficacy of Welfare Programs: Evidence From a Field Experiment in India

65 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2019 Last revised: 25 Aug 2019

See all articles by Upasak Das

Upasak Das

University of Pennsylvania

Amartya Paul

Centre for Development Studies (CDS) India

Mohit Sharma

Collaborative Research and Dissemination (CORD)

Date Written: August 17, 2019

Abstract

Does information dissemination among beneficiaries of welfare programs mitigate implementation failures that undermine these programs? We present experimental evidence on this question in the context of the rural public works program in India. A noble intervention that involves accessing micro level online administrative information of the program and disseminating it to the beneficiaries was implemented in parts of the state of Telangana. Using baseline and endline survey as well as administrative data, we evaluate the impact of this intervention on awareness of the provisions, process, delayed payments and uptake of the program in terms of days worked. The design of the intervention ensured us to examine the effect of spillovers from the program as well as look at the impact of heterogeneous intensity of treatment. The findings indicate a positive and significant impact on raising awareness levels, improving the process mechanism and reducing last mile payment delays. However no significant impact was observed on delays that do not occur at the local level and on uptake as well. The impact of spillovers is also found to be largely positive, however no major difference in impact is found because of the heterogeneous treatment intensity.

Keywords: information; Welfare program; implementation; randomization; delay of payments; MGNREGS

JEL Classification: H53; C93

Suggested Citation

Das, Upasak and Paul, Amartya and Sharma, Mohit, Using Information and Technology to Improve Efficacy of Welfare Programs: Evidence From a Field Experiment in India (August 17, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3438649 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3438649

Upasak Das (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

New Delhi
India

Amartya Paul

Centre for Development Studies (CDS) India ( email )

Trivandrum 695 011, Kerala
India

Mohit Sharma

Collaborative Research and Dissemination (CORD) ( email )

India

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