Government Services

Technology can be leveraged to transform the public sector, improving government service delivery while increasing fairness, transparency, and accountability.

Domain Statement

Digitization creates the opportunity for governments to optimize delivery of a wide variety of services. Machine learning, for instance, can improve resource allocation for activities performed by a range of employees: from inspectors to social workers. Mobile and web applications can enable citizens to file forms, apply for permits, or manage benefits more efficiently, and remind them of deadlines or requirements for receiving aid. Investments in data organization and availability can pay large dividends for governments seeking to optimize service delivery and answer policy questions.

Project Abstracts

Read about some of the government services research projects the lab is working on.

Boosting Efficacy, Efficiency, and Accountability in Government Training Programs

Lab researchers are building a tool to help participants in government-funded training programs to select the programs likely to be most effective, taking into account an individual’s circumstances and qualifications. With a broad set of collaborators, the lab is using administrative data, science, and technology, and the outcomes of previous program participants to create the tool. This project will also incentivize training programs to add value to the earning capacity of program attendees.

Increasing Voter Turnout with Text Reminders

In collaboration with ideas42, lab researchers are investigating whether or not an SMS-message campaign led to increased voter participation during a recent election. Using fine-grained information about voters, causal inference methods are being used to test whether those SMS reminders led to higher voter turnout among certain subgroups of potential voters.

Interviews

Learn firsthand from some of the researchers and practitioners in interviews conducted by the lab.

Justine Hastings: Improving Lives Through Research

Hastings, founding director of Research Improving People’s Lives, a nonprofit research institute, is turning facts into results by combining high-powered research, policy expertise, and technical know-how to give governments the tools they need to better serve their communities.

Eric Liu: Leveraging Incentives and Data for Social Good

Liu, MBA candidate ‘20, carved out a special niche in the use of data science as a tool for social change, reforming the government contracting process, and carrying out projects that help agencies do a better job of serving people in need.

Jonty Olliff-Cooper: Creating a Silicon Valley for the Social Sector

Olliff-Cooper, MS ’18, engagement manager at McKinsey & Company, is promoting relatively new payment models whereby governments compensate providers based on outcomes instead of upfront, including payment-by-results programs like the impact bond.

Related Research

Browse research from affiliated faculty and collaborating organizations.