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NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

May 2015Personalities and Public Sector Performance: Evidence from a Health Experiment in Pakistan
with Michael Callen, Saad Gulzar, Ali Hasanain, Yasir Khan: w21180
This paper provides evidence that the personality traits of policy actors matter for policy outcomes in the context of two large-scale experiments in Punjab, Pakistan. Three results support the relevance of personalities for policy outcomes. 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 personality measures exhibit a larger treatment response to increased monitoring. Last, senior health officials with higher Big Five scores are more likely to respond to a report of an underperforming facility by compelling better subsequent staff attendance.
 
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