Working Paper Series

  • Educação e Relações Étnico-Raciais: Entre diálogos contemporâneos e políticas públicas

    Janelle Scott, Fernando César Ferreira Gouvêa, Luiz Fernandes de Oliveira, Sandra Regina Sales, Aristóteles de Paula Berino, Carlos Prado Mendoza, Carlos Roberto de Carvalho, Cláudia Miranda, Jorge Luís Rodrigues dos Santos, Maíra Gomes de Souza da Rocha, Márcia Denise Pletsch, Maria Elena Viana Souza, Michele S. Moses, Mônica Rosa, Neuza M. Sant’ Anna de Oliveira, Simone D`Avila Almeida, Stela Guedes Caputo, Úrsula Pinto Lopes de Farias

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (January 2014)

  • eGovernment, Corruption, and the Quality of Public Services: Evidence from India (under review)

    Jennifer Bussell

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (December 2013)

    Do public service reforms improve citizen services? Over the last two decades both public-private partnerships and information and communication technologies have been promoted as tools for reforming service delivery in developing countries. However, observational studies of policies intended to promote these reform models are hindered by selection bias. Experimental evaluations, on the  other hand, can be limited in their potential for generalization to broader populations. In this study, I adopt a combined experimental and observational approach to evaluate the independent effects of privatization and computerization in an initiative to improve citizen services in the south Indian state of Karnataka. Through the use of a citizen survey and field experiment, I show that privatization of service delivery, combined with computerization, has a larger positive effect than computerization alone on a number of service quality measures, including the demand for, and size of, bribes from citizens. While private, computerized centers do not improve all facets of service delivery and, interestingly, do not engender higher levels of satisfaction from citizens, their effect on corruption in the service delivery process is substantial.

  • Constituency Service, Decentralization, and Citizen Behavior in India

    Jennifer Bussell

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (December 2013)

    Constituency service is an important element of Indian legislator activity. Early interest in the importance of the personal vote in India paid particular attention to the relevance of Indian electoral institutions for promoting the supply of constituency service to Indian citizens. Yet analysts have paid little attention to the potential effects of other institutional characteristics, such as the major decentralization reforms of the 1990s, on the nature of politician-citizen interactions. In this paper I use survey evidence from citizens in the south Indian state of Karnataka to show that, despite nearly two decades of formal political and fiscal decentralization in the state, in the majority of cases citizens continue to rely on the assistance of state-level politicians to navigate the state bureaucracy rather than their local counterparts. In addition I find that party affiliation, rather than demographic characteristics such as gender or caste, plays a predominant role in shaping both whom citizens have asked for help in the past and who they expect they would ask for help in the future. These findings contrast with the literature on decentralization that emphasizes the importance of decentralization for increasing the representation of minority groups and highlights the important role of party politics in linking constituents to their representatives and the resources controlled by those representatives.

  • Naiveté, Projection Bias, and Habit Formation in Gym Attendance

    Daniel J. Acland, Matthew Levy

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (December 2013)

    We develop a model capturing habit formation, projection bias, and present bias, and conduct a fi eld experiment to identify its main parameters. We implement an exogenous habit-formation intervention, and elicit subjects' predictions of post-treatment gym attendance: projection-biased subjects will underestimate habit-formation; naive present-biased subjects will overestimate attendance. We fi nd subjects form a signi cant short-run habit, but appear not to predict this habit ex-ante. Approximately one-third of subjects formed a habit, equivalent on average to the e ect of a $2.60 per-visit subsidy. Their predictions correspond to 90%  projection bias. The small post-treatment incentives involved in our elicitation mechanism appear to crowd-out the new habit, as subjects appear to correctly predict. Subjects greatly over-predict future attendance, which we interpret as evidence of partial naivete with respect to present bias: they appear to expect their future selves to be two-thirds less present biased" than they currently are. The combination of naivete and projection bias helps explain limited take-up of commitment devices by dynamically inconsistent agents, and points to new forms of contracts.

  • Oil, Energy Poverty and Resource Dependence in West Africa

    Daniel Kammen, Morgan Bazilian, Ijeoma Onyeji, Peri-Khan Aqrawi, Benjamin K Sovacool, Emmanuel Ofori, Thijs Van de Graaf

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (June 2013)

  • Visually-Weighted Regression

    Solomon Hsiang

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (May 2013)

    Uncertainty in regression can be eciently and e ectively communicated using the visual properties of statistical objects in a regression display. Altering the visual weight" of lines and shapes to depict the quality of information represented clearly communicates statistical con dence even when readers are unfamiliar with the formal and abstract de nitions of statistical uncertainty. Here we present examples where the color-saturation and contrast of regression lines and con dence intervals are parametrized by local measures of an estimate's variance. The results are simple, visually intuitive and graphically compact displays of statistical uncertainty. This approach is generalizable to almost all forms of regression

  • Varieties of Corruption: The Organization of Rent-Seeking in India

    Jennifer Bussell

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (April 2013)

    How is corruption organized? Studies of corrupt behavior to date shed light on both the causes and consequences of corruption. Yet we have little understanding of how corrupt activities are structured and the ways in which rents are, or are not, distributed across various actors—insightsthat would, in theory, prove enlightening for efforts to reduce corruption. In this paper, I analyze the organization of corruption through a set of related questions: Are rents from a single bribe distributed across multiple actors? If so, do different types of actors benefit differentially from different types of corruption? What factors, such as the type of corruption or the degree of government centralization, are associated with variation in the distribution of rents? To explore these questions, I first present a new, three-level typology of corruption emphasizing the type of actor paying a bribe and roughly reflecting the character of illicit acts across three realms: high-level policy-making, e.g. bribes for favorable legislation; mid-level policy implementation, such as kickbacks for government contracts; and low-level delivery of public services, for example the payment of “speed money” by citizens. I then draw on new and original data from surveys of Indian politicians to assess how the distribution of rents across actors varies as a function of the type of corruption and the degree of government centralization. I show that there is considerable division of rents across government and non-government actors and the perceived distribution of rentsis strongly associated with the type of corruption, though not necessarily in the ways predicted by existing theory. In addition, I find a mixed relationship between government centralization and the distribution of rents. These results validate the utility of a more disaggregated typology of corruption and provide the first clear evidence of the extent to which different political actors benefit from diverse corrupt acts.

  • Turning Words into Action on Climate Change

    Daniel Kammen

    Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (April 2013)