Governments around the world spend billions of dollars annually to
provide basic services and development programs aimed at improving the
lives of those living in poverty. At the same time, a large number of
foundations and international aid organizations channel their
development dollars through government-run programs. But the
effectiveness of such public spending is often compromised by a number
of connected factors: policies that do not reflect the needs or wishes
of the people, leakages due to corruption, lack of community
participation, and poor oversight of public spending.
Despite the crucial importance of good governance for development, many
questions about how to effectively improve governance remain unanswered.
Researchers working on field experiments to evaluate programs and
policies can provide crucial insights to policymakers on how to improve
governance. The value of experimental evidence is likely to be
particularly high when it provides clear tests of hypothesized channels
As a response to this need, this governance review paper summarizes
empirically rigorous evidence on governance issues in low-income
countries and identifies new directions for research. The objective is
twofold: to provide information about how to improve participation in
the political and policy processes and reduce leakages in public
programs, and to identify gaps in the governance literature which
researchers within the Governance Initiative (GI) will seek to fill.
As the work under GI progresses and more gaps are filled, the governance
review paper will be updated to reflect the latest research on the
drivers of good governance.
Olken, B.A.; Pande, R.; Dhaliwal, I.; Dragusanu, R.; Marshall, C. Governance Review Paper. J-PAL Governance Initiative. Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, Cambridge, MA, USA (2011) 82 pp.
Governance Review Paper. J-PAL Governance Initiative.