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Bureaucrat time-use: Evidence from a survey experiment

Jozefina Kalaj, Daniel Rogger and Ravi Somani

World Development, 2022, vol. 152, issue C

Abstract: Bureaucratic effectiveness is an important input into state capacity. The tasks public officials choose to spend their time on determines how their human capital impacts national development. Yet empirical evidence on the measurement and allocation of public officials’ time use is scarce. We provide empirical evidence in this domain through a survey experiment with Ethiopian bureaucrats. We randomly test alternative measures of bureaucratic time use by varying recall period, enumeration methodology and the degree of task detail in recall surveys. Relative to time-use diaries, we find that the best-performing survey modules differ by roughly a third of working time and that requesting more detailed breakdowns of time use significantly increases this disparity. We explore empirically how the allocation of time use correlates with individual characteristics, management practices, and service delivery outcomes.

Keywords: Bureaucrats; Civil servants; Public sector; Time use (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2021.105726

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