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Police Performance and Public Perception in Rajasthan, India
Last registered on July 17, 2016

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Police Performance and Public Perception in Rajasthan, India
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001362
Initial registration date
July 17, 2016
Last updated
July 17, 2016 8:08 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Yale University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PI Affiliation
Indian Institute of Management
PI Affiliation
Rajasthan Police
PI Affiliation
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2005-01-01
End date
2008-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The role of good management practices in organizations has recently been emphasized. Do the same principles also apply in government organizations, even the most bureaucratic and hier- archical of them? And can skilled, motivated managers identify how to improve these practices, or is there a role for outsiders to help them in this task? A unique large-scale randomize trials conducted in collaboration with the state police of Rajasthan, India sought to increase police efficiency and improve interactions with the public. In a sample of 162 police stations serving almost 8 million people, the experiment tested four interventions recommended by police reform panels: limitations of arbitrary transfers, rotation of duty assignments and days off, increased community involvement, and on-duty training. Field experience motivated a novel fifth intervention: “decoy” visits by field officers posing as citizens attempting to register cases, which gave constables incentives to behave more professionally. Only two of these, training and decoy visits, had robust impacts. The other three, which would have reduced middle managers’ autonomy, were poorly implemented and ineffective.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Banerjee, Abhijit et al. 2016. "Police Performance and Public Perception in Rajasthan, India." AEA RCT Registry. July 17. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1362-1.0.
Former Citation
Banerjee, Abhijit et al. 2016. "Police Performance and Public Perception in Rajasthan, India." AEA RCT Registry. July 17. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1362/history/9442.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2005-01-01
Intervention End Date
2008-12-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Program Effects on Victim Satisfaction


Effect of Training on police actions:

- Registered case

- Asked for bribes

- Made arrests

- Recovered property

- Continued investigation actions

- Recontacted victim

- Monthly number of cases registered


Case Review Outcomes:

- Quality of field investigation

- Quality of documentation

- Used scientific techniques


Effects of Interventions on Public Opinion:

- Police Responsiveness to Citizens

- Reducing Police Corruption

- Lack of Fear of Police

- Increase Police Resources











Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Researchers conducted two unique large-scale randomized control trials in collaboration with the state police of Rajasthan, India aimed at increasing police efficiency and improving interactions with the public.

The four main interventions were:

1. Freezing of transfers: For personnel posted to all police stations selected for this intervention (except the control group) all administrative transfers would be frozen for a period of at least two years. Exceptions could be made for well-documented cases of police misconduct that required a transfer.

2. Weekly day off and duty rotation system: Police station-level duties were to be allocated to staff on a rotating basis according to a written schedule. The entire staff in selected police stations (except the station chief) received one day off every eight days. In smaller police stations, where the shortage of manpower might be more acute, the station chief had the option of extending the work period up to fifteen days.

3. Community observers: Two volunteers drawn from a (long) list of potential volunteers would spend about three hours in the police station during peak operating hours, on a rotating basis. The observers' sole task was to watch the activities within the police station and become familiar with the duties, procedures, and challenges faced by the police.

4. In-Service training program: Randomly selected police personnel were given training in at least one of two modules:

- Professional/Investigation skills: aimed at improving investigation procedures, such as field techniques and documentation, with emphasis on scientific techniques.

- Soft skills: focused on improving attitude with the public with inputs on "soft skills" such as communication, mediation, stress management, motivation, team building, leadership, attitudinal, change, etc.

One important public complaint was that police would often refuse to register cases. To check whether the interventions improved police behavior along this dimension, field officers posing as regular citizens attempted to register complaints at the police station. These decoy visits were later transformed into an intervention.




Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Police stations were randomly assigned (by the research team, using a computerized randomization) to different reform strategies, using stratification to ensure a balance on geographical area (district), criminality (number of cases registered in 2005), and urban/rural environment. These variables are included as controls in all regressions performed in this study. Within each police station, staff members were randomly selected for the training intervention with the total percentage of staff trained in each station randomized at 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% of station personnel.
Randomization Unit
police stations
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
162 police stations
Sample size: planned number of observations
N/A
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
All Interventions - 35 police stations

Community Observer + No Transfer - 25 police stations

Weekly Off / Duty Rotation + No Transfer - 25 police stations

No Transfer - 40 police stations

Control - 25 police stations

Pure Control - 12 police stations
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
December 31, 2008, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
December 31, 2008, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
162 police stations
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
N/A
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
All Interventions - 35 police stations Community Observer + No Transfer - 25 police stations Weekly Off / Duty Rotation + No Transfer - 25 police stations No Transfer - 40 police stations Control - 25 police stations Pure Control - 12 police stations
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Yes
Program Files
Program Files
No
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers
Abstract
The role of good management practices in organizations has recently been emphasized. Do the same principles also apply in government organizations, even the most bureaucratic and hier- archical of them? And can skilled, motivated managers identify how to improve these practices, or is there a role for outsiders to help them in this task? Two unique large-scale randomized trials conducted in collaboration with the state police of Rajasthan, India sought to increase police efficiency and improve interactions with the public. In a sample of 162 police stations serving almost 8 million people, the first experiment tested four interventions recommended by police reform panels: limitations of arbitrary transfers, rotation of duty assignments and days off, increased community involvement, and on-duty training. Field experience motivated a novel fifth intervention: “decoy” visits by field officers posing as citizens attempting to register cases, which gave constables incentives to behave more professionally. Only two of these, training and decoy visits, had robust impacts. The other three, which would have reduced middle managers’ autonomy, were poorly implemented and ineffective.
Citation
Banerjee, Abhijit, Raghabendra Chattopadhyay, Esther Duflo, Daniel Keniston, and Nina Singh. "Improving Police Performance in Rajasthan, India: Experimental Evidence on Incentives, Managerial Autonomy and Training." NBER Working Paper No. 17912, November 2014.