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 7.8 percent 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.
Muralidharan, Karthik, Paul Niehaus, Sandip Sukhtankar, and Jeffrey Weaver.
"Improving Last-Mile Service Delivery Using Phone-Based Monitoring."
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics,
Economic Development: Agriculture; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Other Primary Products
Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
Agricultural Policy; Food Policy