Experimental Design Details
Our experimental design has one treatment and one control group. Mandal agricultural officers (MAOs) will be randomly assigned to one of two groups. Due to the randomization, we can compare across the groups to determine the effect of implementing a high frequency monitoring system.
In the treatment group (120 MAOs):
- Prior to the distribution of cheques and start of the HFM system, treatment MAOs are informed via letter and video conference that they have been selected for a new pilot program. They will be informed about the HFM system, and the types of data that will be collected.
- They will also be told that regular reports from the HFM system will be provided to them and their superiors so that they can better respond to problems. In addition to getting reports, they will be told that this information will generate an implementation performance rating for their mandal
- In order to reduce the risk of spillovers, treatment MAOs are explicitly told the identify of other treatment MAOs in their district and that no other mandals in their district are part of the pilot program.
- After the HFM data is collected, treatment MAOs are provided with a report on program implementation in their mandal. These reports will also be provided to higher level department staff, along with the mandal rating.
- After the initial report is issued, regular performance data will continue to be collected and reported to the MAOs on whether the implementation situation has improved in these mandals.
In the control group (remaining MAOs):
- These MAOs will not be explicitly informed about the existence of the HFM pilots in other mandals. If they ask, they will be told that the data collection may occur in future rounds of RBS in their mandals, such as the next season, but not in the present round.
- HFM data will still be collected from 30-100 farmers per mandal. This data will be used to evaluate the effects of HFM and for district level reports, but not to generate reports on the performance of control MAOs.