This paper discusses evidence on a number of innovative strategies to reduce absenteeism in government and nongovernment organization-run schools and health facilities that have been implemented in Kenya and India over the past few years and that have all been evaluated using the randomized evaluation method- ology. These strategies have involved alternative levers to fight absence. Some have tried to improve incentives for providers, either through rewards and punishments implemented by external monitors, or through facilitating a more active involve- ment of those who expect to benefit from the service. Others base their strategies on the idea that the providers are discouraged by the lack of interest among the potential beneficiaries in what they are being offered and have tried to increase the demand for the services as a way of putting more pressure on the providers. The results of these efforts, taken together, shed light not only on ways to address the problem of absence in the public sector, but also on the underlying reasons for this phenomenon.
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