This project is no longer supported by CEDIL due to UK aid cuts during COVID-19.

Evaluating governance reform using a case-control approach

Programme of work

Evaluating complex interventions

Principal investigator(s)

Sudhanshu Handa

Host institution

Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Other institutions

Social Science Baha, Kathmandu, Nepal
Department of Political Science, North Dakota State University


January 2020 to January 2023 (TBC)



Project type




Research question

This study will evaluate the Provincial and Local Government Support Program (PLGSP), a multi-faceted intervention to build the capacity of local government units (LGs) to effectively administer their new powers. The programme is part of Nepal’s 2015 new constitution designed to transition the country to a federal state with three levels of government at national, provincial and municipal level. For the first time, considerable decision-making authority will reside among 753 LGs.

Research design

  • The study will use an innovative case-control design coupled with pre- and post-intervention outcome measures and synthetic control modelling.
  • It will survey households in 90 randomly selected LGs across three provinces prior to the start of the PLGSP, and then two years later.
  • It will define cases as those with significant improvement in key governance outcomes. The remaining LGs will constitute the control group.
  • It will reweight the control LGs using recent developments in the synthetic control literature to correct for selection bias and adjust for baseline differences in order to estimate the causal effect of the programme on government effectiveness.

Data source

A household survey will be carried out in 90 randomly selected LGs across three provinces before and two years after the start of the PLGSP.

Policy relevance

The study will highlight the benefits (or otherwise) of decentralisation reform programmes.