Facilitating Development: Evidence from a National-Level Experiment on Improving Bureaucratic Performance in Myanmar

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Despite strong theoretical foundations, randomized evaluations demonstrate that subnational performance assessments have a mixed record in improving governance. We suggest that a key factor influencing this disappointing result has been the omission of facilitation—working with bureaucrats on how to use subnational performance assessments (SPAs) effectively and encouraging collaboration across government agencies. The argument is tested on a nationally represen-tative panel of townships in precoup Myanmar. Facilitation workshops were conducted in 20 randomly assigned townships, bringing together officials from multiple government agencies and introducing them to the results of the Myanmar Business Environment Index (MBEI), an SPA that scored a panel of 60 townships on 92 governance indicators. Results show that businesses in townships where officials attended facilitation workshops ranked their townships twice as high as the businesses in the control group. Variation in MBEI improvements was moderated by the degree of decentralization in bureaucratic agencies.





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Dulay, D, and E Malesky (2023). Facilitating Development: Evidence from a National-Level Experiment on Improving Bureaucratic Performance in Myanmar. Journal of Politics, 85(4). pp. 1385–1400. 10.1086/723989 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/30463.

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Edmund Malesky

Professor of Political Science

Malesky is a specialist on Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam. Currently, Malesky's research agenda is very much at the intersection of Comparative and International Political Economy, falling into three major categories: 1) Authoritarian political institutions and their consequences; 2) The political influence of foreign direct investment and multinational corporations; and 3) Political institutions, private business development, and formalization.

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