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Fighting Corruption to Improve Schooling: Evidence from a Newspaper Campaign in Uganda

By: Ritva Reinikka, Jakob Svensson

What are the most effective ways to increase primary school enrollment and student learning? We argue that innovations in governance of social services may yield the highest return since social service delivery in developing countries is often plagued by inefficiencies and corruption. We illustrate this by using data from an unusual policy experiment. A newspaper campaign in Uganda aimed at reducing capture of public funds by providing schools (parents) with information to monitor local officials’ handling of a large education grant program. The campaign was highly successful and the reduction in capture had a positive effect on enrollment and student learning.