Enhancing Local Public Service Delivery: Experimental Evidence on the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in Bihar (BNREGA)
Last registered on October 04, 2013


Trial Information
General Information
Enhancing Local Public Service Delivery: Experimental Evidence on the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in Bihar (BNREGA)
Initial registration date
Not yet registered
Last updated
October 04, 2013 4:31 PM EDT
Primary Investigator
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
Paris School of Economics
Additional Trial Information
On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This project evaluates an innovative policy intervention which aims at enhancing supply of public employment in Bihar, a state where the Indian employment guarantee faces severe implementation challenges. The new system of funds transfer and expenditures tracking is rolled out in randomly selected phases across Bihar districts. If the intervention successfully increases spending, we will use it as a way to evaluate the impact of NREGA on people's lives. Detailed field surveys will measure the effect of increased access to public employment on households’ consumption smoothing and migration decisions, as well as its effect on private labour contracts and wages. Since the intervention could also reduce corruption by linking more directly fund flow to payroll, we will also be looking at potential impacts on ghost workers and other measures of corruption.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Banerjee, Abhijit et al. 2013. "Enhancing Local Public Service Delivery: Experimental Evidence on the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in Bihar (BNREGA)." AEA RCT Registry. October 04. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9-1.0.
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Experimental Details
In the new fund flow, the state pool of MNREGA funds automatically reimburses Panchayat for their expenditures on labor payments, provided they enter the beneficiary and payment details on a web portal. The financial structure and the portal are managed by the Central Plan Scheme Monitoring System (CPSMS).
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
expenditures on NREGA; household level employment through NREGA; "leaks" ; household consumption during lean season
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Panchayats in randomly selected blocks will either have access to the new fund flow or they will not (all households across the control and treatment villages will be eligible for MNREGA employment).

The proposed study involves a mixed methods approach of data collection.
First, MG-NREGS expenditures and employment will be tracked through official administrative sources, and if over time there is a significant increase in expenditure, then outcomes such as household consumption, production and labor outcomes will be measured by surveying 25 households in 2 Panchayat villages randomly chosen within each blocks 9800 households in total. During the household survey, we will also collect qualitative data from households on perceived barriers to obtaining access to the scheme. We will also collect qualitative data from Panchayat heads on the perceived issues in implementing MNREGA. The proposed evaluation relies mostly on statistical analysis of administrative and household survey data. However, throughout the process, interviews of GoB staff in charge of MG-NREGS at the State and local level will also be conducted by the research team. The research team will do field visits, and confirm through interviews of officials and intended beneficiaries if public employment provision has indeed improved. Informed consent will be ensured in all cases.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
12 districts
Sample size: planned number of observations
196 blocks
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
69 treatment blocks,127 control blocks
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers