< Back to projects

International Growth Centre, LSE and University of Oxford

The Mystery of Misspending


Why are so many schools and hospitals in Ghana only half built? An innovative study by the International Growth Centre found an answer – and we were asked to share the story with a wider audience.


This is an example of a great story buried deep in an academic paper. Just the sort of challenge we relish.

We worked with the researchers, and used graphics to explain what their research found, and how it was conducted using cutting edge economics. With interviews, we explored how it influenced the civil service in Ghana to undertake widespread reform of its infrastructure spending.

The film featured the Head of the Civil Service in Ghana, development policy researchers from the IGC and the voices of ordinary Ghanaians affected by the all-too-often sight of unfinished school and hospital buildings.


Upon launch, the video attracted tens of thousands views online and was widely shared in the policy community in Africa, including multiple WhatsApp groups in the civil service.

Then it went further. The video got into the hands of the broadcast media and sparked a debate on national radio. Following the debate, the film was played in full on Ghana’s main radio station, listened to by an audience of hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians on their morning commute. 

Policy makers have since approached the researcher involved to explore future collaborations

Professor Martin Williams of Oxford University and IGC, who both led the research and starred in the film writes…

“In just a few weeks, thousands more people watched the video about my research than will ever read the paper and policy brief. It also reached the policymakers who really matter – soon I was walking into people’s offices to tell them about my research, but they had already seen the video and were much more receptive as a result. Econ Films did a brilliant job making a video that gave research participants a voice, and their animated infographics explained my theory better than I ever could!”

< Previous project
Next project >
You might also be interested in