Tangible Information and Citizen Empowerment: Identification Cards and Food Subsidy Programs in Indonesia
Jun 1, 2016
Abhijit Banerjee, Rema Hanna, Jordan Kyle, Benjamin A. Olken, Sudarno Sumarto
Banerjee, Abhijit, Rema Hanna, Jordan Kyle, Benjamin A. Olken, Sudarno Sumarto. 2016. Tangible Information and Citizen Empowerment: Identification Cards and Food Subsidy Programs in Indonesia. AidData Working Paper #27. Williamsburg, VA: AidData at William & Mary.
Update: A revised version of this paper has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Political Economy.
Local officials in developing countries do not always implement programs as the central government intends, often due to corruption. Directly informing citizens about their rights may result in citizens receiving more, but whether this occurs in practice is ultimately an empirical question. In an experiment in over 550 villages, we test whether mailing cards with program information to targeted beneficiaries increases the subsidy they receive from a subsidized rice program. On net, beneficiaries received 26 percent more subsidy in card villages. Ineligible households received no less, so this represents substantially lower leakage.