Access to services

Digital financial services in the Pacific – Experiences and regulatory issues

Asian Development Bank

This paper examines how digital financial services (DFS) can be used to improve financial inclusion in the Pacific. It looks at the current use of DFS in seven Pacific island countries, explores the regulation and supervision of DFS, and provides recommendations for the expansion of DFS in the Pacific. The paper explains the two main models for the supply of DFS: bank-led ...» more

World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends

World Bank

The digital revolution has brought easier communication and information, greater convenience, free digital products, and new forms of leisure.  However, digital dividends have had much less impact on global productivity, expansion of opportunity and the spread of accountable governance than once expected.  This report argues that improving digital dividends requires digital ...» more

Courts, clans and companies: Mobile money and dispute resolution in Somaliland

Nicole Stremlau and Ridwan Osman

Mobile money has thrived in Somaliland, providing access to storing money in e-wallets and the ability to pay for goods and services in a largely cashless economy. Its widespread adoption raises a number of social and legal questions, particularly around handling disputes. How are these disputes resolved, by which entities and according to which laws or regulations? Why are ...» more

Ethnic heterogeneity and public goods provision in Zambia: Evidence of a subnational ‘‘diversity dividend”

Rachel M. Gisselquist, Stefan Leidere and Miguel Nino-zarazua

This article challenges the ‘‘diversity debit” hypothesis that ethnic diversity has a negative impact on social, economic, and political outcomes. It argues that rather than focus on why this is the case, research should seek to explore the underlying mechanisms of such negative relationship, specifically why these relationships may differ across sub-national budgetary and ...» more

Do citizens reward good service? Voter responses to basic service provision in southern Africa

Daniel de Kadt and Evan S. Lieberman

This study tests the accountability hypothesis that dramatic improvements in key basic infrastructural service areas – water provision, sewerage, and refuse collection – lead to increased electoral returns to the incumbent. The findings from four Southern African countries reveals a negative relationship between change in service provision and change in incumbent vote share, ...» more

Service characteristics and engagement with citizens

Richard Batley, Joseph Wales

This briefing note aims to provide some practical guidance on how different services can offer differing opportunities and challenges for improving service performance through increased accountability and, especially, citizen engagement. It illustrates an approach to identifying these opportunities, using examples from two services: curative health care and urban networked ...» more

Social policy

The development of social policy as a discipline is associated with the emergence of welfare states in European countries. This reading guide provides the user with some key texts and narrative. The development of European countries involved the progressive extension of rights, civil rights in the 18th century, political rights in the 19th century, and…» more

State of the industry 2014: Mobile financial services for the unbanked


Now available in over 60% of developing markets, mobile financial services (MFS) are firmly established in the financial sectors of the majority of the developing world and are increasingly being used to increase access to low-cost financial services including payments, transfers, insurance, credit and savings. This report outlines 2014 trends in availability, accessibility and ...» more

Services in the city: governance and political economy in urban service delivery

Harry Jones, Clare Cummings, Hamish Nixon

How good is service delivery in urban areas? This discussion paper reviews literature on the political economy of four key urban services: solid waste management, water supply, transport, and urban health services. The four sector reviews demonstrate the importance of governance factors – partly rooted in physical, economic, social and political differences between rural and ...» more

Service delivery

Equitable access to essential public services is vital for human development, inclusive growth, and tackling persistent inequality. This topic guide provides an overview of the best available evidence on inclusive service delivery. It includes lessons from cases where aid has been effective at addressing weak front-line incentives, where services have been delivered in very ...» more

What is the evidence that the establishment or use of community accountability mechanisms and processes improves inclusive service delivery by governments, donors and NGOs to communities?

Una Lynch et al.

What interventions have had an impact (positive or negative) in promoting community accountability and influencing inclusive service delivery? Community accountability is a process by which a community works together to create and affirm values and practices, and provide safety and support. The review was interested in interventions designed to increase citizen participation ...» more

Rethinking social accountability in Africa: lessons from the Mwananchi Programme

Fletcher Tembo

How can social accountability projects enhance citizen engagement to deliver pro-poor policy and practice changes in Africa? This report draws on five years' of lessons and case studies from implementing the Mwananchi Governance and Transparency Programme in six African countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia. It argues that there are three major ...» more

Impact of gender-responsive budgeting

Gender-responsive budgeting has been applied by a few dozen developing countries since the mid-1980s, though to very different extents and in diverse forms. It is difficult to identify what its impact has been on gender outcomes and on resource distribution within government, due to a limited evidence base and to complexity in assessing and interpreting impact. Nevertheless, ...» more

Budget accountability and participation

Experts agree that the evidence base on budget transparency, accountability and participation is limited and underdeveloped. However there are a growing number of case studies and meta-analyses covering a wide geographic scope and diverse contexts, with a variety of methods and gender sensitivity. Key findings from the evidence include the following: There are examples ...» more

Poor people’s rights and successful legal actions

Key finding: Landmark rulings by South Africa’s Constitutional Court in favour of poor people’s social and economic rights since the 1990s have drawn widespread attention to the law as a tool for realising poor people’s rights and tackling the underlying systemic problems in a way that empowers individuals and communities. But while there has been broad support for using the ...» more

Evidence about the effectiveness of child protection programmes in developing countries

Key findings: There is little evidence on the effectiveness of child protection programmes in developing countries. Furthermore, some of the available evidence does not provide information on links between specific practices on the one hand and improved outcomes and impact for children on the other hand. There are, however, some targeted insights into what works and what does ...» more

Peace dividends and beyond: Contributions of administrative and social services to peacebuilding

Erin McCandless

This multi-partner United Nations study seeks to determine whether the UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) should increase its support to administrative and social services, and if so, to what types of programming. The study reviews current thinking and practices among United Nations agencies, funds and programmes alongside some of their partners in the areas of administrative services ...» more

The Adverse Effects of Sunshine: A Field Experiment on Legislative Transparency in an Authoritarian Assembly

Edmund Malesky, Paul Schuler, Anh Tran

An influential literature has demonstrated that legislative transparency can improve the performance of parliamentarians in democracies. In a democracy, voters can sanction delegates in response to increased information about a delegate’s performance. Some have argued that, in authoritarian regimes, although delegates may not be responsive to voters, they may be responsive to ...» more

Creating Space for Child Participation in Local Governance in Tanzania: Save the Children and Children’s Councils

Meda Couzens, Koshuma Mtengeti

This brief summarises the findings of a study that examined whether children’s councils promote children’s participation in local governance in Tanzania. The research found that the councils (supported by Save the Children) are genuinely child-led organisations that have contributed to improving local service delivery to children. However, councils are operational in a limited ...» more

Understanding and Improving Accountability in Education: A Conceptual Framework and Guideposts from Three Decentralization Reform Experiences in Latin America

Alec Ian Gershberg, Pablo Alberto González, Ben Meade

This paper builds a framework for understanding accountability reforms in the education sector and develops three illustrative Latin American cases of governance reform in the education sector (Chile, Nicaragua and Bogotá, Colombia). This framework pays attention to exit and voice alternatives (where exit alternatives introduce competition between providers and voice ...» more