Making moves matter


Published 06.02.19

Evidence from Pakistan shows that governments can use the postings of bureaucrats to improve their performance

Governments frequent face difficulty in effectively motivating bureaucrats. Common performance-related private sector policies such as bonuses, commission, and promotion are often extremely regulated in the government sector. Ben Olken looks at how governments can use the tool of bureaucrat postings to improve performance. Using a randomised controlled trial in Punjab, Pakistan, and in cooperation with the Excise and Taxation Department in the government of Punjab, Olken and co-authors Adnan Khan and Asim I. Khwaja (Khan et al. 2018) find evidence that governments can use this tool of placement to improve bureaucratic performance.