NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Sudarno Sumarto

TNP2K
Jl. Kebon Sirih
Jakarta Indonesia and SMERU

E-Mail: ssumarto@smeru.or.id
Institutional Affiliation: TNP2K

NBER Working Papers and Publications

August 2019The Challenges of Universal Health Insurance in Developing Countries: Evidence from a Large-scale Randomized Experiment in Indonesia
with Abhijit Banerjee, Amy Finkelstein, Rema Hanna, Benjamin A. Olken, Arianna Ornaghi: w26204
To assess ways to achieve widespread health insurance coverage with financial solvency in developing countries, we designed a randomized experiment involving almost 6,000 households in Indonesia who are subject to a nationally mandated government health insurance program. We assessed several interventions that simple theory and prior evidence suggest could increase coverage and reduce adverse selection: substantial temporary price subsidies (which had to be activated within a limited time window and lasted for only a year), assisted registration, and information. Both temporary subsidies and assisted registration increased initial enrollment. Temporary subsidies attracted lower-cost enrollees, in part by eliminating the practice observed in the no subsidy group of strategically timing cove...
December 2018The (lack of) Distortionary Effects of Proxy-Means Tests: Results from a Nationwide Experiment in Indonesia
with Abhijit Banerjee, Rema Hanna, Benjamin A. Olken: w25362
Many developing country governments determine eligibility for anti-poverty programs using censuses of household assets. Does this distort subsequent reporting of, or actual purchases of, those assets? We ran a nationwide experiment in Indonesia where, in randomly selected provinces, the government added questions on flat-screen televisions and cell-phone SIM cards to the targeting census administered to 25 million households. In a separate survey six months later, households in treated provinces report fewer televisions, though the effect dissipates thereafter. We find no change in actual television sales, or actual SIM card ownership, suggesting that consumption distortions are likely to be small.
December 2015Contracting out the Last-Mile of Service Delivery: Subsidized Food Distribution in Indonesia
with Abhijit Banerjee, Rema Hanna, Jordan C. Kyle, Benjamin A. Olken: w21837
Outsourcing government service provision to private firms can improve efficiency and reduce rents, but there are risks that non-contractible quality will decline and that reform could be blocked by vested interests exactly where potential gains are greatest. We examine these issues by conducting a randomized field experiment in 572 Indonesian localities in which a procurement process was introduced that allowed citizens to bid to take over the implementation of a subsidized rice distribution program. This led 17 percent of treated locations to switch distributors. Introducing the possibility of outsourcing led to a 4.6 percent reduction in the markup paid by households. Quality did not suffer and, if anything, households reported the quality of the rice improved. Bidding committees may hav...
February 2015The Power of Transparency: Information, Identification Cards and Food Subsidy Programs in Indonesia
with Abhijit Banerjee, Rema Hanna, Jordan C. Kyle, Benjamin A. Olken: w20923
Can governments improve aid programs by providing information to beneficiaries? In our model, information can change how much aid citizens receive as they bargain with local officials who implement national programs. In a large-scale field experiment, we test whether mailing cards with program information to beneficiaries increases their subsidy from a subsidized rice program. Beneficiaries received 26 percent more subsidy in card villages. Ineligible households received no less, so this represents lower leakage. The evidence suggests that this effect is driven by citizen bargaining with local officials. Experimentally adding the official price to the cards increased the subsidy by 21 percent compared to cards without price information. Additional public information increased higher-orde...
 
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