Data Science for Justice: Evidence from a Nationwide Randomized Experiment in Kenya
Can data science improve the functioning of courts, and unlock the positive effects of institutions on development? In a nationwide experiment in Kenya, we use algorithms to identify the greatest sources of court delay for each court and recommend actions. We randomly assign courts to receive no information, information, or an information and accountability intervention. Information and accountability reduces case duration by 22%. Using continuous household surveys, we find that in regions with treated courts, workers were more likely to have formal contracts and higher wages, especially in contract-intensive industries. These results demonstrate a causal relationship between judicial institutions and economic development.