Tackling Implementation Challenges with Information: Experimental Evidence from a School Governance Reform in Tanzania
This paper investigates the role of inter-agency coordination in policy implementation, with a focus on a nationwide roll-out of a new school governance program in Tanzania. The program produces a set of school- and teacher-specific diagnostics and recommendations to improve school quality. But information and managerial frictions between the ministry producing the recommendations and the ministry responsible for compliance undermine program fidelity. To address this challenge in a randomly sampled subset of schools, local bureaucrats received text messages informing them of the main recommendations and encouraging them to follow up with schools to ensure compliance. We find that the program improved student learning and teaching practice, but only when combined with text messages. Observed gains are concentrated in regions exposed to a donor program that provided these bureaucrats with resources to monitor. Addressing the implementation challenge places the program in the top five most cost-effective education programs ever evaluated.
Cilliers, J. and Habyarimana, J. 2023. Tackling Implementation Challenges with Information: Experimental Evidence from a School Governance Reform in Tanzania. RISE Working Paper Series. 23/142. https://doi.org/10.35489/BSG-RISE-WP_2023/142