Computers and discretion: Evidence from two randomized natural experiments

Alberto Chong, Daniel Velásquez, Mónica Yáñez-Pagans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle in a journalpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


While it is known that the use of computers can increase productivity, it is also true that it may promote greater equality. We exploit two natural field experiments related to the renewal of national identification cards in Bolivia and show that applicants randomly assigned to a digital renewal process not only are more likely to successfully complete it but do so faster than when assigned to a manual process. We also show that the introduction of digital technologies substantially removed heterogeneity in the delivery of the public service, especially for individuals of less favored characteristics. Information technologies may help curb petty corruption by reducing discretion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-109
Number of pages47
JournalEconomic Development and Cultural Change
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2022

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