Led by Associate Professor of Political Science Lily Tsai, MIT GOV/LAB employs five PhD students and two project managers, and projects are already under way in Bangladesh, Guatemala, Kenya, the Philippines, Liberia, Tanzania, Uruguay, and the United States.
Tsai and her team are evaluating a variety of initiatives in Bangladesh that are designed to increase the voice of those traditionally excluded from government decisions. GOV/LAB researchers are specifically assessing what incentivizes women and the poor to participate in local government meetings.
Collaborating organization: CARE Bangladesh
In collaboration with an organization that provides information online about the performance of Kenya’s parliamentarians, GOV/LAB is investigating how Internet users decide what information is most important and credible. This project is intended to help GOV/LAB’s partner to design a web presence that not only informs Kenyans, but also inspires political action.
Collaborating organization: Mzalendo
In Tanzania, GOV/LAB researchers are evaluating the use of comic books to change how youths feel about a variety of issues, including political action. One goal of this project is to determine the best way to communicate political information to people who are disengaged and apathetic.
Collaborating organizations: Shujaaz, Well Told Story, and Twaweza
GOV/LAB researchers are examining the effects of a program that trains community leaders in the Philippines to advocate for the interests of the poor and push for better public services from local government. This project explores whether building the capacity of community leaders can have the unintended consequence of prompting politicians to buy off leaders to mobilize support.
Collaborating organization: Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Government
Researchers from GOV/LAB are investigating in what ways information and communication technologies can improve citizen-government relations in Uruguay. This project focuses on measuring how citizens’ attitudes toward government change in relationship to the length of time it takes the government to respond to public information requests.
Collaborating organizations: Datos Abiertos, Transparencia y Acceso a la información, and Qué Sabés