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Can Bureaucrats Really Be Paid Like CEOs? School Administrator Incentives for Anemia Reduction in Rural China

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  • Renfu Luo
  • Grant Miller
  • Scott Rozelle
  • Sean Sylvia
  • Marcos Vera-Hernández

Abstract

Unlike performance incentives for private sector managers, little is known about performance incentives for managers in public sector bureaucracies. Through a randomized trial in rural China, we study performance incentives rewarding school administrators for reducing student anemia—as well as complementarity between incentives and orthogonally assigned discretionary resources. Large (but not small) incentives and unrestricted grants both reduced anemia, but incentives were more cost-effective. Although unrestricted grants and small incentives do not interact, grants fully crowd-out the effect of larger incentives. Our findings suggest that performance incentives can be effective in bureaucratic environments, but they are not complementary to discretionary resources.

Suggested Citation

  • Renfu Luo & Grant Miller & Scott Rozelle & Sean Sylvia & Marcos Vera-Hernández, 2015. "Can Bureaucrats Really Be Paid Like CEOs? School Administrator Incentives for Anemia Reduction in Rural China," NBER Working Papers 21302, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21302
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    Cited by:

    1. Geys, Benny & Heggedal, Tom-Reiel & Sørensen, Rune J., 2017. "Are bureaucrats paid like CEOs? Performance compensation and turnover of top civil servants," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 47-54.
    2. Manoj Mohanan & Katherine Donato & Grant Miller & Yulya Truskinovsky & Marcos Vera-Hernández, 2019. "Different Strokes for Different Folks: Experimental Evidence on the Effectiveness of Input and Output Incentive Contracts for Health Care Providers with Varying Skills," NBER Working Papers 25499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Singh, Prakarsh & Masters, William A., 2017. "Impact of caregiver incentives on child health: Evidence from an experiment with Anganwadi workers in India," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 219-231.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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