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Incentives and the Sorting of Altruistic Agents into Street-Level Bureaucracies

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  • Margaretha Buurman
  • Robert Dur

Abstract

Many street-level bureaucrats (such as caseworkers) have the dual task of helping some clients, while sanctioning others. We develop a model of such a street-level bureaucracy and study the implications of its personnel policy on the self-selection and allocation decisions of agents who differ in altruism towards clients. When bureaucrats are paid flat wages, they do not sanction, and the most altruistic types sort into bureaucracy. Pay-for-performance induces some bureaucrats to sanction, but necessitates an increase in expected wage compensation, which can result in sorting from both the top and bottom of the altruism distribution. We also show how client composition affects sorting and why street-level bureaucrats often experience an overload of clients.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-9442.2012.01723.x
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 114 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 1318-1345

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:114:y:2012:i:4:p:1318-1345

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Web page: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1467-9442

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References

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  1. Michael Rosholm & Michael Svarer & Bo Hammer, 2004. "A Danish Profiling System," CAM Working Papers 2004-22, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  2. Behncke, Stefanie & Frölich, Markus & Lechner, Michael, 2007. "Unemployed and Their Caseworkers: Should They Be Friends or Foes?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6558, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey A. Smith & Mark C. Berger & Brett J. Noel, 2003. "Is the Threat of Reemployment Services More Effective Than the Services Themselves? Evidence from Random Assignment in the UI System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1313-1327, September.
  4. Berg, Gerard J. van den & Klaauw, Bas van der & Ours, Jan C. van, 1998. "Punitive sanctions and the transition rate from welfare to work," Serie Research Memoranda 0033, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
  5. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2005. "Competition and Incentives with Motivated Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 616-636, June.
  6. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 336, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Burgess, Simon & Propper, Carol & Ratto, Marisa & Tominey, Emma, 2012. "Incentives in the Public Sector: Evidence from a Government Agency," CEPR Discussion Papers 9071, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith & Christopher Taber, 1996. "What Do Bureaucrats Do? The Effects of Performance Standards and Bureaucratic Preferences on Acceptance into the JTPA Program," NBER Working Papers 5535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Francois, Patrick, 2000. "'Public service motivation' as an argument for government provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 275-299, November.
  10. Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur, 2004. "Incentives and Workers' Motivation in the Public Sector," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-060/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  11. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  12. Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur, 2009. "From public monopsony to competitive market: more efficiency but higher prices," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 586-602, July.
  13. Glazer, Amihai, 2004. "Motivating devoted workers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 427-440, March.
  14. Howard S. Bloom & Carolyn J. Hill & James A. Riccio, 2003. "Linking program implementation and effectiveness: Lessons from a pooled sample of welfare-to-work experiments," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(4), pages 551-575.
  15. Canice Prendergast, 2007. "The Motivation and Bias of Bureaucrats," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 180-196, March.
  16. Nyborg, Karine & Brekke, Kjell Arne, 2009. "Selfish Bakers, Caring Nurses? A Model of Work Motivation," HERO On line Working Paper Series 2008:1, Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme.
  17. Christina M. Fong, 2007. "Evidence from an Experiment on Charity to Welfare Recipients: Reciprocity, Altruism and the Empathic Responsiveness Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(522), pages 1008-1024, 07.
  18. Fong, Christina M. & Bowles, Samuel & Gintis, Herbert, 2006. "Strong reciprocity and the welfare state," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
  19. Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2007. "Volunteer hiring, organizational form and the provision of mission-oriented goods," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 0707, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Robert Dur & Robin Zoutenbier, 2013. "Working for a Good Cause," CESifo Working Paper Series 4227, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. repec:dgr:uvatin:2011168 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Robert Dur & Robin Zoutenbier, 2012. "Intrinsic Motivations of Public Sector Employees: Evidence for Germany," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-135/VII, Tinbergen Institute, revised 02 Jun 2014.
  4. Dur, Robert & Zoutenbier, Robin, 2014. "Intrinsic Motivations of Public Sector Employees: Evidence for Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 8239, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. repec:dgr:uvatin:2012135 is not listed on IDEAS

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