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The power of information: evidence from public expenditure tracking surveys in Uganda

In Uganda, for every dollar spent by the central government on non-wage education items in 1995, only 20 cents actually reached schools, with local governments capturing most of the rest. Poor students suffered disproportionately because schools catering to them received even less than others. Disbursements were rarely monitored or audited, and most schools and parents had little or no information about their entitlements to the grants. To respond to the problem, the central government began publishing data on monthly transfers of capitation grants to districts in newspapers, and to broadcast them on the radio. It required primary schools and district administration to post notices of all inflows of funds. This promoted accountability by giving schools and parents access to the information needed to understand and monitor the grant programme. An evaluation of the information campaign revealed large improvement. Not all schools are receiving the entire grant and there are delays. But capture by interests along the way was reduced from 80 percent in 1995 to 20 percent in 2001. See: R.Reinikka and J. Svensson (2003). ‘The Power of Information: Evidence from a Campaign to Reduce Capture’, World Bank” Washington, D.C

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