Escaping the Disengagement Dilemma: Two Field Experiments on Motivating Citizens to Report on Public Services

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Authors Mark T. Buntaine, Daniel Nielson, Jacob T. Skaggs
Paper Category
Paper Abstract To promote good governance, citizens can inform governments directly and routinely about the implementation of policies and the delivery of public services. Yet citizens lack incentives to provide information when they do not expect governments to be responsive, and citizen disengagement in turn often prevents governments from providing public goods effectively. In two field experiments, we studied potential remedies to this dilemma related to solid waste services in Uganda. We randomly assigned reporters to be recruited by community nomination and to be recognized by community leaders in an attempt to select for and motivate information sharing. We also randomly assigned reporters to hear from the government about how their reports were used to make real improvements to waste services. Community nominations and public announcements did not increase reporting. However, responsiveness boosted participation over several months for reporters who had been recruited earliest and had been reporting longest, highlighting the critical role of timely government responsiveness in sustaining information flows from citizens.
Date of publication 2019
Code Programming Language R

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