NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Yasir Khan

UC Berkeley Haas School of Business

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2016The Political Economy of Public Sector Absence: Experimental Evidence from Pakistan
with Michael Callen, Saad Gulzar, Syed Ali Hasanain: w22340
Public sector absenteeism undermines service delivery in many developing countries. We report results from an at-scale randomized control evaluation in Punjab, Pakistan of a reform designed to address this problem. The reform affects healthcare for 100 million citizens across 297 political constituencies. It equips government inspectors with a smartphone monitoring system and leads to a 76% increase in inspections. However, the surge in inspections does not always translate into increased doctor attendance. The scale of the experiment permits an investigation into the mechanisms underlying this result. We find that experimentally increasing the salience of doctor absence when communicating inspection reports to senior policymakers improves subsequent doctor attendance. Next, we find that b...
February 2016Using Preference Estimates to Customize Incentives: An Application to Polio Vaccination Drives in Pakistan
with James Andreoni, Michael Callen, Karrar Jaffar, Charles Sprenger: w22019
We use structural estimates of time preferences to customize incentives for polio vaccinators in Lahore, Pakistan. We measure time preferences using intertemporal allocations of effort, and derive the mapping between these structural estimates and individually optimized incentives. We evaluate the effect of matching contract terms to discounting parameters in a subsequent experiment with the same vaccinators. This exercise provides a test of the specific point predictions given by structural estimates of discounting parameters. We demonstrate that tailoring contract terms to individual discounting moves allocation behavior significantly towards the intended objective.
May 2015Personalities and Public Sector Performance: Evidence from a Health Experiment in Pakistan
with Michael Callen, Saad Gulzar, Ali Hasanain, Arman Rezaee: w21180
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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