Management of Bureaucrats and Public Service Delivery: Evidence from the Nigerian Civil Service

Abstract

We study how the management practices that bureaucrats operate under correlate to the quantity and quality of public services delivered. We do so in a developing country context, exploiting data from the Nigerian Civil Service. For 4700 public sector projects, we have hand coded independent engineering assessments of each project’s completion rate and delivered quality. We supplement this with a survey eliciting management practices for bureaucrats in the 63 civil service organizations responsible for these projects, modifying the approach of Bloom and Van Reenen [2007]. Management practices matter: a one standard deviation increase in autonomy for bureaucrats corresponds to significantly higher project completion rates of 18%; a one standard deviation increase in management practices related to incentives/monitoring corresponds to significantly lower project completion rates of 14%. We provide evidence that the negative impacts of incentive provision/monitoring arise because bureaucrats multi-task and incentives are poorly targeted, and because these management practices capture elements of subjective performance evaluation that leave further scope for dysfunctional responses from bureaucrats. Our results provide novel insights into how changes in how bureaucrats are managed can have potentially large impacts on public service delivery in a developing country context.

Citation

Rasul, I.; Rogger, D. Management of Bureaucrats and Public Service Delivery:Evidence from the Nigerian Civil Service. (2015) 60 pp.

Management of Bureaucrats and Public Service Delivery: Evidence from the Nigerian Civil Service

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