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Working Paper Series

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

Authors

  • Jennifer Bussell, Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley

History

  • Goldman School of Public Policy Working Paper (December 2013)

Abstract

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.