Achieving transparency in pro-poor education incentives
What are the best ways to ensure that scholarships, conditional cash transfers, free school meals, and so on, actually reach their intended beneficiaries? This book assumes that different models of design, targeting, and management of pro-poor incentives can prove more or less successful in maximizing efficiency, transparency, and accountability, and in minimizing the likelihood of errors, fraud, and corrupt practices. Comparing the cases of seven projects implemented worldwide, it demonstrates that some models may pose greater challenges to transparency and accountability than others (namely, targeted, inkind, locally managed, or community-based). At the same time, these models may be the most adequate for local needs, especially if there are budget constraints, a vast and diverse territory, or demand for food at school. The authors argue that deliberate actions taken to confront related corruption risks, such as simplified targeting, legal definition of responsibilities, local transparency committees, school display boards, appeals mechanisms, informal whistleblowing, and social audits, among others, are of greater importance than the adopted incentive model. They conclude by highlighting the value of "mutual accountability systems", where all actors are mutually accountable and subject to checks and balances.