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Motion without movement: understanding the determinants of public sector productivity

Rogger, DO; (2014) Motion without movement: understanding the determinants of public sector productivity. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis presents an analysis of the determinants of public sector productivity in the Federal Government of Nigeria. The first chapter introduces the thesis, with an emphasis on the creation of measurement tools and methods for, and the collection of, the data that acts as the foundation of the contribution of my thesis work. The second chapter studies how management practices that bureaucrats in the Nigerian Civil Service operate under, correlate to the quantity and quality of public services delivered. For each of 4700 projects, I have hand coded independent engineering assessments of each project's completion rate and delivered quality. I supplement this information with a survey to elicit management practices for bureaucrats in the 63 civil service organizations responsible for these projects, following the approach of Bloom and Van Reenen [2007]. I find that management practices matter: a one standard deviation increase in autonomy for bureaucrats corresponds to significantly higher project completion rates of 18%; a one standard deviation increase in practices related to incentives and monitoring corresponds to significantly lower project completion rates of 14%. I provide evidence that the negative impacts of practices related to incentive provision/monitoring arise because bureaucrats multi-task and incentives are poorly targeted, and because these management practices capture elements of subjective performance evaluation that further leave scope for dysfunctional responses from bureaucrats. The backdrop to these results, where 38% of projects are never started, implies there are potentially large gains to marginally changing management practices for bureaucrats. The third chapter studies the causes and consequences of interactions between politicians and bureaucrats in the Nigerian Civil Service along two key margins: which bureaucrats a politician delegates the delivery of public projects to, and the incentives that politicians provide to those bureaucrats. To investigate these issues, I combine data on the political careers of politicians and measures of their interactions with bureaucrats with the data presented in my first chapter. I find that politicians facing high levels of political competition are more likely to (1) delegate the implementation of public projects in their constituency to more autonomous organizations; and (2) provide informal incentives to bureaucrats in those organizations. Guided by a moral hazard model, I assess the separate impacts of the delegation and incentive margins using an instrumental variables strategy. I find that delegation to more productive bureaucrats is the key channel through which politicians improve the bureaucracy's output when faced with high levels of political competition. The results have implications for the design of organizations that regulate politicians' interactions with the bureaucracy. The final chapter presents some concluding comments.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Motion without movement: understanding the determinants of public sector productivity
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: bureaucracy, civil service, incentives, informal incentives, formal incentives, nigeria, politicians, bureaucrats, political interference
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Economics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1435055
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