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Delivering More with Less: Sub-national Service Provision in Low Capacity States

The new paper by Jordan Kyle and Danielle Resnick examines how sub-national variation in capacity affects access to agricultural extension in rural Nepal. The authors explore six dimensions of state capacity using original household survey data and interviews with local bureaucrats. They find that local knowledge and motivation of bureaucrats play a significant role in shaping service access. By contrast, traditional capacity indicators—including resources, professionalization, and autonomy—matter surprisingly little. These findings suggest that bureaucrats working with fewer but more motivated staff who spend more time in a district are more likely to facilitate citizens’ access to agricultural extension

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