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CSI in the tropics: Experimental evidence of improved public service delivery through coordination
Last registered on June 30, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
CSI in the tropics: Experimental evidence of improved public service delivery through coordination
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006090
Initial registration date
June 29, 2020
Last updated
June 30, 2020 12:12 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Universidad de los Andes
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2015-12-01
End date
2019-05-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We randomly assign the investigations of 66% of the 1,683 homicides occurring in Bogota, Colombia, during 2016 to a new procedure in which teams of responsible functionaries are in charge of a given case throughout the investigation process. We find a statistically significant 30% increase in the conviction rate in the treatment group relative to the control group. Indicators of the quality of the investigative process also improve, as well as the rate at which a formal accusation is presented before a court. Complementary findings suggest that the team work induced by the treatment improves communication, coordination, feedback, and motivation.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Collazos, Daniela et al. 2020. "CSI in the tropics: Experimental evidence of improved public service delivery through coordination." AEA RCT Registry. June 30. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6090-1.0.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Seeking to increase judicial efficiency, the District Attorney’s Office of Colombia developed and implemented a new policy that restructured its murder investigation procedure to avoid the loss of information between public servants and increase coordination and leadership. Specifically, fixed investigative teams of lab experts, detectives and a district attorney were created to handle homicide cases from the initial investigation until the bill of indictment.
Intervention Start Date
2016-01-20
Intervention End Date
2016-12-04
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our main outcomes are actions and decisions taken by the CSIs, detectives, and the prosecution. We use the Prosecution Office outcomes to measure performance: indictment, bill of charges, sentence and conviction rates.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Indictment: The suspect(s) was (were) formally charged with the commission of the crime.
Bill of charges: A formal written document accusing the suspect(s) of having committed a crime is filed.
Sentence: Cases that had a sentence, although the defendant was not necessarily found guilty.
Conviction: Cases in which the defendant was found guilty.

Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
In order to randomly allocate homicide cases between treatment and control groups, in cooperation with the Prosecution Office we placed strict rotation rules on the investigative teams on call for each shift. The first step was to form six fixed investigative units (nine lab experts, five detectives, and a prosecutor) that would cover the city of Bogota. Four of the groups were assigned to a treatment status via a simple raffle.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
For teams of functionaries, simple raffle in front of the public servants. For homicide cases, rotation rules between investigative teams shifts guarantee random allocation of homicides to the treatment and control groups.
Randomization Unit
Homicide case.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
668 shifts
Sample size: planned number of observations
Close to 1500 cases
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Control group: close to 500; Treatment group: close to 1000
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
From our power calculations we obtained an average Minimum Detectable Effect (MDE) of 0.13 Standard Deviation (SD) for the indictment and an average MDE of 0.14 SD for the bill of charges, the two main outcomes of the program.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Universidad de los Andes
IRB Approval Date
2017-02-17
IRB Approval Number
Proceedings No: 689 of 2017
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
Pre-Analysis Plan

MD5: 20a8b1e1f861634d1f2affce5f2dea22

SHA1: 572f04058b255054b5a7b4c8347be7f89bc34b3b

Uploaded At: June 26, 2020

Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
December 04, 2016, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
1,683 homicide cases
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
573 in the control group and 1,110 in the treatment group
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Yes
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
Abstract
This paper evaluates the impacts of increased coordination, accountability, and leadership among teams of responsible public officials, with evidence from homicide investigations in Colombia. We randomly assigned the investigations of 66% of the 1,683 homicides occurring in Bogotá, Colombia, during 2016 to a new investigation procedure emphasizing these features. We find a statistically significant 30% increase in the conviction rate in the treatment group relative to the control group. Indicators of the quality of the investigative process also improve, as well as the rate at which a formal accusation is presented before a court. Complementary findings suggest that the treatment produces well-coordinated teams that can communicate more fluently. Also, a survey of investigative team members reveals that work motivation, the extent to which they receive feedback on their performance, the pertinence and effectiveness of their roles, and the perceived quality and coordination of the team all improve under the new scheme.
Citation
Daniela Collazos & Leopoldo Fergusson & Miguel La Rota & Daniel Mejía & Daniel Ortega, 2020. "CSI in the tropics Experimental evidence of improved public service delivery through coordination," Documentos CEDE 2020-20, Universidad de los Andes - CEDE.
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS