Worth the Effort? The Impact of Woman-Led Auditing on the Social Protection Provision in India

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Event Type: 
Brown Bag
Date and Time: 
Monday, November 7, 2022
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

We use an at-scale randomized experiment to study the impact of one of the world’s largest community-led monitoring efforts, India’s “social audits” initiative, on graft and program access in one of India’s poorest states. Combining administrative data on program expenditures with survey data we find that audits successfully reduced graft in two of India’s largest social protection programs. Implications for participants vary by program, however. Reduced in graft in the national workfare program reflects lower levels of implementation and therefore less access —survey data show the share of citizens participating reduced by more than 50% in audited communities. Conditional on participating, amounts received by citizens did not change. In contrast, audits reduced kickbacks paid to local leaders under the national housing program by 28% and as a result income retained by participants increased by 7%. Implementing the workfare program requires significantly more effort on the part of local officials — results therefore suggest that monitoring may reduce corruption, but at the cost of reduced access, when officials have limited incentives to implement.