Paul Niehaus is Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of California, San Diego, where he works with governments in emerging markets to improve the implementation of social programmes. He is a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a Junior Affiliate at the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD), an Affiliate of the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), and an Affiliate at the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA). He is also co-founder and president of Give Directly, currently the top-rated nonprofit by Give Well and ranked among the 25 most audacious companies (Inc) and 10 most innovative companies in finance (Fast Company). He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University. In 2013 Foreign Policy named him one of its 100 leading "Global Thinkers."
Building state capacity for better programme implementation: Lessons from the Andhra Pradesh Smartcard Programme
03 Dec 2014
Biometric payment systems are posited to reduce leakages in public welfare programmes but there is limited evidence on their effectiveness. This column presents evidence on the impact of the Andhra Pradesh Smartcard Programme on MNREGS and Social Security Pension beneficiaries, based on a large-scale randomised controlled trial. It finds substantial economic benefits, and concludes that using biometric payment infrastructure to deliver welfare payments can be a game changer for governance in India.
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