Dr. M. R. Sharan's research project in India, titled "Peer Learning Among Local Politicians: Evidence from Bihar," has been awarded $169,510 by the JPAL Governance Initiative. The JPAL Governance Initiative is a research center that conducts randomized evaluations of policies and programs to improve governance and public service delivery in developing countries. This funding will support an evaluation of a peer learning intervention implemented by the Government of Bihar. The intervention aims to create peer groups among extremely local representatives in Bihar, which is India's poorest state and has weak state capacity and poor human development indicators. The peer learning approach has been used in various sectors, including education and healthcare, to improve the quality of services delivered. By creating peer groups among local representatives in Bihar, the government aims to improve their performance and promote good governance at the local level. The findings of this evaluation could inform the design of similar interventions in other developing countries. The study will involve more than 5000 ward members. Dr. Sharan's collaborators on the project are Apurva Bamezai from the University of Pennsylvania, Siddharth Hari from the World Bank, and Siddharth George from NUS in Singapore.
The JPAL Governance Initiative is a program run by the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL), which is aimed at promoting evidence-based policy making and improving the effectiveness of government programs in developing countries. The initiative partners with governments and other stakeholders to identify policy challenges, design and test interventions, and rigorously evaluate their impact using randomized controlled trials (RCTs). By doing so, the program generates rigorous evidence on what works and what doesn't in the context of governance and public policy, and aims to improve accountability, transparency, and citizen engagement. Ultimately, the JPAL Governance Initiative seeks to help governments make informed decisions that improve the lives of citizens and reduce poverty. The JPAL Governance Initiative is based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States.