An efficient, fair, and accessible justice system is consequential for peace and security, encourages investment and growth, and is fundamental to notions of citizenship and trust in government. Yet, there is little empirical research in justice-system reform, in large part because data is not easily available. In recent years, however, governments around the world have embraced electronic case-management systems and used innovative technologies to expand access to justice. Leveraging the Bank’s relationship with governments, the ieGovern work on justice is uniquely positioned to take the lead in justice research. It is evolving into a broad research program to both establish a global data infrastructure for the justice sector and develop a global program for understanding the economics of justice reform.
The ieGovern program is currently focused on (i) strengthening administrative data collection and developing case-management systems capable of producing high-quality data (Kenya and Senegal), (ii) developing an empirically validated measurement framework for justice research, (iii) using high-frequency case data to understand the impact of justice reforms (Croatia and Senegal), and (iv) setting up the foundation for future experimentation in justice (Azerbaijan and Kenya). Going forward, the program aims to establish a global depository of administrative and survey data on justice and identify additional priority countries in which to experimentally and iteratively test the impacts of new justice reforms.
Data and Evidence for Justice Reform (DE JURE)
The Data and Evidence for Justice Reform (DE JURE) program is a collaboration between the World Bank’s Governance Global Practice and the Development Impact Evaluation (DIME) team. By leveraging the Bank's relationship with governments, the DE JURE program aims to harness the potential of recent changes in data availability to establish a global data infrastructure for the justice sector, and – through rigorous analysis and experimentation – expand the evidence base on the economics of justice reform.
The program has three objectives:
I. DATA: Work with World Bank operations and client governments to strengthen case management and administrative data systems, and pilot a public data depository that brings together key elements from these systems in the form of a series of ‘Doing Justice’ indicators;
II. MEASUREMENT: Use administrative and survey data, in conjunction with economic theory and literature, to develop an empirically-validated measurement framework that lays the foundation for research on the economics of justice reform;
III. LEARNING: Work with client governments to tackle priority policy research questions to understand the impacts of changes in laws and regulations, information and monitoring systems, and incentives and enforcement mechanisms, by embedding experimental research into the rollout and scale-up of justice sector interventions.
Transferring power and responsibilities to local entities is a very popular reform for many countries, including in OECD, middle-income, and poor countries. However, the evidence base of how decentralization reforms fare in practice has not kept up with the number of reforms. Unanswered research questions include how to measure and incentivize the performance of local governments, how to deal with potential elite capture at the local level, and how to ensure local governments have sufficient capacity to handle increasing responsibilities and collet their own revenues.
Our research programs explore several dimensions of the decentralization puzzle. In Cambodia, an IE is testing how to harness social-accountability interventions to improve service delivery of local governments. The impact of demand-side actors such as community officers and community-based organizations in making local governments more accountable is being studied in Burkina Faso and Solomon Islands. Transfers of resources from central government to local governments based on their institutional performances are being tested in Tanzania to assess whether this program-for-results type of incentive scheme is effective in improving local service delivery.
Last Updated: Apr 12, 2017