Management of Bureaucrats and Public Service Delivery: Evidence from the Nigerian Civil Service (IGC Working Paper)

Abstract

We study how the management practices under which public sector bureaucrats operate, 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 linking public sector organizations to the individual projects they are responsible for. For each of 4700 projects, we have hand coded independent engineering assessments of each project’s completion rate and delivered quality. We supplement this information with a survey we conducted to elicit management practices for bureaucrats in each of the 63 civil service organizations responsible for these projects, following the approach of Bloom and Van Reenen [2007]. We find management practices related to autonomy significantly increase project completion rates and project quality; management practices related to performance-based incentives significantly decrease project completion rates and project quality. We then document: (i) how the impacts of autonomy vary by project and organizational characteristics following Aghion and Tirole [1997]; (ii) whether the negative impacts of performance related management practices are driven by issues related to project complexity/multi-tasking, and bureaucrats operating under multiple principals. Finally we provide evidence on how each dimension of management practice interplays with bureaucrat characteristics, such as their tenure, intrinsic motivation and perceptions of organizational corruption. Our findings provide among the first evidence to quantify the potential gains to public service delivery arising from marginal changes in how civil service bureaucrats are managed.

Citation

Imran Rasul; Rogger, D. Management of Bureaucrats and Public Service Delivery: Evidence from the Nigerian Civil Service (IGC Working Paper). International Growth Centre (IGC), London, UK (2013) 70 pp.

Management of Bureaucrats and Public Service Delivery: Evidence from the Nigerian Civil Service (IGC Working Paper)

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