Political Participation and Local Governance in Bangladesh

Can women garner more government responsiveness by changing how they frame their public service requests?

In Bangladesh, the government recently ratified the Local Government Act, which promotes participatory budgeting through local community budget meetings. CARE Bangladesh’s Journey for Advancement in Transparency, Representation, and Accountability (JATRA) is a GPSA funded project that tries to increase compliance with and the efficacy of this law by connecting citizens with local officials to improve participation and development outcomes for extremely poor communities in two districts of Northwest, Bangladesh.

The MIT GOV/LAB collaborated with CARE Bangladesh to explore women’s participation in these budget meetings. When making public service demands to local officials, are women as successful as men in convincing ward and UP members to fund their projects? And, what is the most effective strategy that women leaders can employ to secure funding for projects demanded during open budgeting meetings? Should they evoke their role as women in the community or should they behave as male leaders would?

To answer this question we will randomly vary whether a female or male leader makes a demand about development projects. Additionally, within those female leaders chosen to make a demand, we will randomly vary how they frame the demand. By comparing whether of not the item made it into the budget across these variations, we will be able to better understand how women leaders can most successfully participate in these local budgeting meetings.

Collaborators