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The Political Economy of Public Sector Absence: Experimental Evidence from Pakistan

Michael Callen, Saad Gulzar, Ali Hasanain and Muhammad Khan

No 11321, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: This paper presents evidence that one cause of absenteeism in the public sector is that government jobs are handed out as patronage. First, politicians routinely interfere when bureaucrats sanction absent doctors, and doctors are more absent in uncompetitive constituencies and when connected to politicians. Next, we find that the effects of two experimental interventions to address absence are attenuated in uncompetitive constituencies and for connected doctors. The first is a smartphone monitoring technology that nearly doubles inspection rates, and the second, representing the first experiment on the effects of providing data to policymakers, channels real time information on doctor absence.

Keywords: Absence; Corruption; Data in Policymaking; Information Communication Technology; patronage; Political Competition; Political Connections (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 D73 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp and nep-pol
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (12) Track citations by RSS feed

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