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Public sector motivation and development failures

  • Macchiavello, Rocco

This paper provides a theoretical analysis of the relationship between public sector motivation and development. In the model the public sector produces a public good and workers are heterogeneous in terms of public sector motivation (PSM). Wages in the private sector increase with the quality of the public good. In this context, public sector wage premia (PSWP) have two opposite effects: low PSWP helps screen workers with PSM into the public sector, while high PSWP helps motivate workers to be honest. Raising PSWP may not improve the quality of governance and multiple equilibria might arise. The model highlights that the relative importance of workers selection and provision of "on the job" incentives in the public sector varies in systematic ways with wages in the private sector. We provide anecdotal and original empirical evidence consistent with the theoretical predictions and discuss some policy implications for public sector reforms in developing countries.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 86 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 201-213

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:86:y:2008:i:1:p:201-213
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  1. Besley, Timothy J. & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2004. "Competition and Incentives with Motivated Agents," CEPR Discussion Papers 4641, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Acemoglu, Daron & Verdier, Thierry, 1996. "Property Rights, Corruption and the Allocation of Talent: A General Equilibrium Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 1494, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  12. Bender, Keith A, 1998. " The Central Government-Private Sector Wage Differential," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(2), pages 177-220, April.
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  17. repec:oup:qjecon:v:110:y:1995:i:3:p:681-712 is not listed on IDEAS
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