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Research Program in Development Studies

Local Government in India

Jeffrey Hammer has been looking at issues of accountability in the delivery of public services in developing countries.  One potential method is to give more control to local governments.

Two surveys were done in conjunction with a World Bank project in the Indian State of Karnataka  One was the baseline of an evaluation of the project which gives untied funds to the smallest unit of government (Grama Panchayats GP's).  The purpose was to see if the money was spent in accordance with the wishes of the villagers, or, "which villagers?"  The other was an experiment that gave intensive support to a subset of the eligible GP's (in conjunction with Vijayendra Rao at the World Bank and Kripa Anantpur at the Madras Institute for Development Studies) to see how well procedures were followed, also which villagers tended to be influential as well as the relative quality of construction projects built by a village's own funds or by the status quo, state funds.

Click here for a presentation describing the first survey. 

To read an Op-Ed piece based on field work for the survys, click here.

Further reflections on decentralization in India (with Yamini Aiyar and Salimah Samji) in the context of health are found in:

"Understanding Government Failures in Public Health Services," Economic and Political Weekly, October, 2007.

"Bottoms Up: To the role of Panchayati Raj Institutions in health and health services," in Government of India, Ministry of Panchayati Raj "Workshop of Writers and Thinkers on Local Governance and Panchayati Raj," New Delhi, June 2006.  Also available as a World Bank Social Development Paper, South Asia Series, paper no. 98, June 2006.