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The distortionary effects of incentives in government: Evidence from China'sdeath ceiling program

Raymond Fisman () and Yongxiang Wang ()
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Raymond Fisman: Boston University
Yongxiang Wang: University of Southern California

No dp-282, Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series from Boston University - Department of Economics

Abstract: We study a 2004 program designed to motivate Chinese bureaucrats to reduce accidental deaths. Each province received a set of `death ceilings' that, if exceeded, would impede government officials' promotions. For each category of accidental deaths, we observe a sharp discontinuity in reported deaths at the ceiling, suggestive of manipulation. Provinces with safety incentives for municipal officials experienced larger declines in accidental deaths, suggesting complementarities between incentives at different levels of government. While realized accidental deaths predict the following year's ceiling, we observe no evidence that provinces manipulate deaths upward to avoid ratchet effects in the setting of death ceilings.

Keywords: Information disclosure; Political selection; Indian politics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 D73 D78 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cna
Date: 2017-01
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http://sites.bu.edu/fisman/files/2016/06/Deathceil ... sion-with-tables.pdf

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