London School of Economics
International Growth Centre
London WC2A 2AE, UK
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|March 2018||Making Moves Matter: Experimental Evidence on Incentivizing Bureaucrats through Performance-Based Postings|
with Asim Ijaz Khwaja, Benjamin A. Olken: w24383
Bureaucracies often post staff to better or worse locations, ostensibly to provide incentives. Yet we know little about whether this works, with heterogeneity in preferences over postings impacting effectiveness. We propose a performance-ranked serial dictatorship mechanism, whereby bureaucrats sequentially choose desired locations in order of performance. We evaluate this using a two-year field experiment with 525 property tax inspectors in Pakistan. The mechanism increases annual tax revenue growth by 30-41 percent. Inspectors that our model predicts face high equilibrium incentives under the scheme indeed increase performance more. Our results highlight the potential of periodic merit-based postings in enhancing bureaucratic performance.
|October 2014||Tax Farming Redux: Experimental Evidence on Performance Pay for Tax Collectors|
with Asim I. Khwaja, Benjamin A. Olken: w20627
Performance pay for tax collectors has the potential to raise revenues, but might come at a cost if taxpayers face undue pressure from collectors. We report the first large-scale field experiment on these issues, where we experimentally allocated 482 property tax units in Punjab, Pakistan into one of three performance-pay schemes or a control. After two years, incentivized units had 9.3 log points higher revenue than controls, which translates to a 46 percent higher growth rate. The scheme that rewarded purely on revenue did best, increasing revenue by 12.8 log points (62 percent higher growth rate), with little penalty for customer satisfaction and assessment accuracy compared to the two other schemes that explicitly also rewarded these dimensions. Further analysis reveals that these reve...
Published: Adnan Q. Khan & Asim I. Khwaja & Benjamin A. Olken, 2016. "Tax Farming Redux: Experimental Evidence on Performance Pay for Tax Collectors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol 131(1), pages 219-271.
|February 2013||The Impact of Social Networks on Labour Market Outcomes: New Evidence from Cape Breton|
with Steven F. Lehrer: w18786
Debates centered on the role of social networks as a determinant of labour market outcomes have a long history in economics and sociology; however, determining causality remains a challenge. In this study we use information on random assignment to a unique intervention to identify the impact of changes in the size of alternative social network measures on subsequent employment at both the individual and community level. Our results indicate that being assigned to the treatment protocol significantly increased the size of social networks, particularly weak ties. Nevertheless, these increases did not translate into improved employment outcomes 18 months following study completion. We do not find any evidence of treatment effect heterogeneity based on the initial size of one's social network;...
Published: Adnan Q. Khan & Steven F. Lehrer, 2013. "The Impact of Social Networks on Labour Market Outcomes: New Evidence from Cape Breton," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 39(s1), pages 1-24, May. citation courtesy of