Improving state capacity to target extreme poverty: An evaluation of a randomised intervention in Bangladesh

Scarce resources for social transfers and public services tend to be misallocated where they are needed the most – in developing countries. To improve the allocation, most existing impact evaluations have focused on monitoring, incentives and accountability; and they have largely ignored that local government representatives responsible for selecting beneficiaries of these social transfers may simply lack the ability to respond to public demands.

In close collaboration with the Ministry of Social Welfare in Bangladesh, this project evaluates a state-capacity building intervention that addresses capacity constraints by training local representatives on the national government guidelines for the selection of new beneficiaries and by providing them with required data on the target group.

The research design builds on a formative data collection documenting that local representatives lack the knowledge and tools to target the benefits according to the guidelines by the national government. We have therefore designed a state-capacity-building that addresses the existing capacity constraints in two ways:

  1. By training local representatives on the national government guidelines for the selection of new beneficiaries; and
  2. By providing them with the required data on individuals in the target group to enable them to follow the government guidelines.

The impact evaluation uses a cluster randomised controlled trial and will focus on assessing whether in treatment municipalities newly selected beneficiaries are on average more eligible than newly selected beneficiaries in control municipalities using baseline and end-line data from local government representatives as well as end-line data from newly selected beneficiaries.


  • Research in progress.

    Project last updated on: 5 Oct 2020.