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Motivating bureaucrats with non-monetary incentives when state capacity is weak: Evidence from large-scale field experiments in Peru

Andrew Dustan, Stanislao Maldonado () and Juan Manuel Hernandez-Agramonte
Additional contact information
Andrew Dustan: Vanderbilt University
Juan Manuel Hernandez-Agramonte: Innovations for Poverty Action

No 136, Working Papers from Peruvian Economic Association

Abstract: We study how non-monetary incentives, motivated by recent advances in behavioral economics, affect civil servant performance in a context where state capacity is weak. We collaborated with a government agency in Peru to experimentally vary the content of text messages targeted to civil servants in charge of a school maintenance program. These messages incorporate behavioral insights in dimensions related to information provision, social norms, and weak forms of monitoring and auditing. We find that these messages are a very cost-effective strategy to enforce compliance with national policies among civil servants. We further study the role of social norms and the salience of social benefits in a follow-up experiment and explore the external validity of our original results by implementing a related experiment with civil servants from a different national program. The findings of these new experiments support our original results and provide additional insights regarding the context in which these incentives may work. Our results highlight the importance of carefully designed non-monetary incentives as a tool to improve civil servant performance when the state lacks institutional mechanisms to enforce compliance.

New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp
Date: 2018-12
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Working Paper: Motivating bureaucrats with non-monetary incentives when state capacity is weak: Evidence from large-scale field experiments in Peru (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: Motivating bureaucrats with non-monetary incentives when state capacity is weak: Evidence from large-scale field experiments in Peru (2018) Downloads
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