NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Selection and Oversight in the Public Sector, With the Los Angeles Police Department as an Example

Canice Prendergast

NBER Working Paper No. 8664
Issued in December 2001
NBER Program(s):   PE

I offer theoretical and empirical observations on the oversight of public sector employees. I argue that it is unreasonable to expect that the solutions typically considered in the literature will be effective with public sector employees, because bureaucrats are especially difficult to monitor. To offset this weakness, agencies tend to hire bureaucrats who are biased against consumers, where such bias increases incentives. I then address how bureaucrats should be overseen and offer a choice between internal monitoring of public agencies, with overseers who are biased against consumers, or external monitoring, where bureaucrats become excessively worried about the prospect of an investigation and may change their behavior to attain that goal. I provide evidence from the Los Angeles Police Department to show that officers appear to have responded to increased oversight by reducing crime-fighting activities in an attempt to avoid investigation.

download in pdf format
   (352 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (352 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w8664

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Mas and Moretti w12508 Peers at Work
Ichniowski and Shaw w15619 Connective Capital as Social Capital: The Value of Problem-Solving Networks for Team Players in Firms
Lazear w9679 Firm-Specific Human Capital: A Skill-Weights Approach
Gompers, Kovner, Lerner, and Scharfstein w12592 Skill vs. Luck in Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital: Evidence from Serial Entrepreneurs
Prendergast w8445 Consumers and Agency Problems
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us