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Management of Bureaucrats and Public Service Delivery: Evidence from the Nigerian Civil Service

  • Imran Rasul
  • Daniel Rogger

We study how the management practices that bureaucrats operate under, correlate to the quantity and quality of public services delivered. We do so in a developing country context, exploiting data from the Nigerian Civil Service linking public sector organizations to the projects they are responsible for. For each of 4700 projects, we have hand coded independent engineering assessments of each project's completion rate and delivered quality. We supple- ment this information with a survey to elicit management practices for bureaucrats in the 63 civil service organizations responsible for these projects, following the approach of Bloom and Van Reenen[2007]. Management practices matter: a one standard deviation increase in autonomy for bureaucrats corresponds to significantly higher project completion rates of 18%; a one standard deviation increase in practices related to incentives and monitoring corresponds to significantly lower project completion rates of 14%. We provide evidence that the negative impacts of practices related to incentive provision/monitoring arise because bureaucrats multi-task and incentives are poorly targeted, and because these management practices capture elements of subjective performance evaluation that further leave scope for dysfunctional responses from bureaucrats. The backdrop to these results, where 38% of projects are never started, implies there are potentially large gains to marginally changing management practices for bureaucrats.

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File URL: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/pep/pep20.pdf
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Paper provided by Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE in its series STICERD - Public Economics Programme Discussion Papers with number 20.

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Date of creation: Oct 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cep:stippp:20
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/default.asp

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  1. Gagliarducci, Stefano & Nannicini, Tommaso, 2009. "Do Better Paid Politicians Perform Better? Disentangling Incentives from Selection," IZA Discussion Papers 4400, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Bloom, Nicholas & Van Reenen, John, 2006. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 5581, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. George Baker, 2002. "Distortion and Risk in Optimal Incentive Contracts," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(4), pages 728-751.
  4. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2008. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 414-427, August.
  5. Benjamin A. Olken, 2007. "Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 200-249.
  6. Bandiera, Oriana & Prat, Andrea & Valletti, Tommaso, 2008. "Active and Passive Waste in Government Spending: Evidence from a Policy Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 6799, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2008. "Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil's Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(2), pages 703-745, 05.
  8. Rose-Ackerman, Susan, 1986. "Reforming Public Bureaucracy through Economic Incentives?," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(1), pages 131-61, Spring.
  9. Esther Duflo & Rema Hanna & Stephen P. Ryan, 2012. "Incentives Work: Getting Teachers to Come to School," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1241-78, June.
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