NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Personalities and Public Sector Performance: Evidence from a Health Experiment in Pakistan

Michael Callen, Saad Gulzar, Ali Hasanain, Yasir Khan, Arman Rezaee

NBER Working Paper No. 21180
Issued in May 2015, Revised in April 2018
NBER Program(s):Development Economics, Political Economy

This paper provides evidence that the personalities of policymakers matter for policy. Three results support the relevance of personalities for policy. First, doctors with higher Big Five and Perry Public Sector Motivation scores attend work more and falsify inspection reports less. Second, health inspectors who score higher on these measures exhibit larger treatment responses to increased monitoring. Last, senior health officials with higher personality scores respond more to data on staff absence by compelling better subsequent attendance. These results suggest that interpersonal differences matter are consequential for state performance.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21180

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