Improving Education through Bureaucrat Autonomy in Bangladesh

Last registered on May 10, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Improving Education through Bureaucrat Autonomy in Bangladesh
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003513
Initial registration date
October 30, 2018

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
November 02, 2018, 3:19 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
May 10, 2022, 11:48 AM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Innovations for Poverty Action

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Innovations for Poverty Action
PI Affiliation
Yale University
PI Affiliation
Yale University

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2018-12-01
End date
2023-03-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
A long-held view in the economics literature is that lack of autonomy and incentives to exert effort or take risks stymies efficiency and the adoption of new practices by bureaucrats (Mookherjee 1998, Bloch and Bugge 2013). And yet, evidence on how to design incentive schemes that effectively prompt government officials to improve the quality of education remains limited (Wild et al. 2012). We propose a novel experiment in which we cross-randomize training in evidence-based and promising educational interventions and two types of incentives - towards a final goal, and towards a set of intermediate goals - among Upazila Nirbahi Officers (sub-district level government officials) in Bangladesh. The study aims to provide new insights into effective incentive design by investigating what combination of autonomy and non-financial incentives is more effective in increasing policy innovation and improving student learning outcomes.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Haque, Ashraf et al. 2022. "Improving Education through Bureaucrat Autonomy in Bangladesh." AEA RCT Registry. May 10. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3513
Former Citation
Haque, Ashraf et al. 2022. "Improving Education through Bureaucrat Autonomy in Bangladesh." AEA RCT Registry. May 10. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3513/history/143287
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2021-02-01
Intervention End Date
2021-03-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
1) Educational performance of students on nation-wide, mandatory, standardized tests for grade 5 and grade 8.
2) Number of new practices and policies implemented by UNOs.
3) Effort directed toward implementing new practices (time use, money raised etc.).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We randomly select Upazila Nirbahi Officers (UNOs) from 220 upazilas in Dhaka and Chittagong and allocate them into four experimental arms of 55 upazilas each: (1) a full autonomy arm, in which UNOs are paid incentives to improve a final outcome (namely, average student test scores in their jurisdiction); (2) a partial autonomy arm, in which, in addition to being paid a final incentive, UNOs receive a toolkit of evidence-based interventions for improving educational outcomes, are invited attend a two-day training in Dhaka, and receive follow-up phone calls to remind them of the contents of the toolkit; (3) a low autonomy arm, in which UNOs receive final incentives, are invited to attend the same training and receive the same follow-up calls as the partial autonomy group, but are also paid to take specific intermediate steps toward toolkit implementation; and (4) a pure control group, in which UNOs do not receive any incentives or training.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
The intervention target and unit of randomization will be Upazila Nirbahi Officers (UNOs).
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
n/a
Sample size: planned number of observations
220
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
55 UNOs in each experimental arm (3 treatment arms and a pure control group)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number