Incentivising bureaucrats through performance-based postings: Experimental evidence from Pakistan


Published 10.06.20

How can we best incentivise bureaucrats in a formal manner that avoids concerns over corruption?

Across much of the developing world, supervisors use posting locations to incentivise bureaucrats. Yet, this is often done informally, raising concerns over transparency and the impartiality of supervisors. In this VoxDev talk, Adnan Khan discusses the findings of an experiment in Pakistan that formalised incentives for tax collectors. This involved ranking the performance of bureaucrats relative to one another, and an algorithm that assessed their location preferences. Based on this, bureaucrats were allocated the location of their next posting. Importantly, the researchers find that this improved performance significantly, with tax revenue increasing by six to nine percentage points