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
This paper presents evidence that one cause of absenteeism in the public sector is that government jobs are handed out as patronage. First, politicians routinely interfere when bureaucrats sanction absent doctors, and doctors are more absent in uncompetitive constituencies and when connected to politicians. Next, we find that the effects of two experimental interventions to address absence are attenuated in uncompetitive constituencies and for connected doctors. The first is a smartphone monitoring technology that nearly doubles inspection rates, and the second, representing the first experiment on the effects of providing data to policymakers, channels real time information on doctor absence.
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 a sample of polio vaccinators during a series of door-to-door immunization drives in Pakistan. Our investigation proceeds in three stages. First, we measure time preferences using intertemporal allocations of vaccinations. Second, we derive the mapping between these structural estimates and individually optimal incentives given a specific policy objective. Third, we experimentally evaluate the effect of matching contract terms to individual discounting patterns in a subsequent experiment with the same vaccinators. This exercise provides a test of the specific point predictions given by structural estimates of time preference. We document present bias among vaccinators and find that tailored contracts achieve the i...
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 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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