The role of open data in evidencing and limiting political interference in public input distribution in Guatemala

Publicado en Environmental Development, v. 38:100613

Müller, A., Blom, J., Mora, V., van Etten, J.

Año de publicación 2021

The Alliance of Bioversity-CIAT, Digital Inclusion, Montpellier, France
Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands
Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería, Siquirres, Costa Rica



We acknowledge support from the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) Programme, under the project P42 Agroclimas 1 &ndash Tailored agroclimatic and food security information for decision making in Latin America and P1604 Agroclimas 2 &ndash Digitally integrated approaches for managing climate risks and increasing food security ( CCAFS is carried out with support from CGIAR Trust Fund Donors and through bilateral funding agreements. For details please visit The views expressed in this paper cannot be taken to reflect the official opinions of these organizations. We also acknowledge the support from the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research under the grant number CRN3107 for this research project.

Proyecto CRN3107


Input subsidies are a popular redistributive policy measure in many developing countries to support climate change adaptation through yield stabilization and food security in a small-farm context. Nevertheless, the evidence of the effectiveness of the programs is mixed. One main point of critique is that these programs are vulnerable to political interference leading to misuse. In this paper we assess if targeted investments in public data and information infrastructure can reduce entry points for political interference. We present a case study on Guatemala in which fertilizer distribution was accompanied by an effort of open data provision and transparency under the Zero Hunger Pact. For this case study, we used a mixed-method approach. We show that political interference was a significant determinant of fertilizer distribution in the 2012&ndash2015 election period and to analyze the role that information and data played with this regard. The paper closes by proposing four action points that could help to harvest the potential of information, data, and digital tools to reduce political interference into public redistributive decision-making.