NBER

Adnan Khan

London School of Economics
International Growth Centre
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE, UK

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: London School of Economics

NBER Working Papers and Publications

February 2020The Allocation of Authority in Organizations: A Field Experiment with Bureaucrats
with Oriana Bandiera, Michael Carlos Best, Andrea Prat: w26733
We design a field experiment to study how the allocation of authority between frontline procurement officers and their monitors affects performance both directly and through the response to incentives. In collaboration with the government of Punjab, Pakistan, we shift authority from monitors to procurement officers and introduce financial incentives to a sample of 600 procurement officers in 26 districts. We find that autonomy alone reduces prices by 9% without reducing quality and that the effect is stronger when the monitor tends to delay approvals for purchases until the end of the fiscal year. In contrast, the effect of performance pay is muted, except when agents face a monitor who does not delay approvals. The results illustrate that organizational design and anti-corruption policies...
March 2018Making Moves Matter: Experimental Evidence on Incentivizing Bureaucrats through Performance-Based Postings
with Asim Ijaz Khwaja, Benjamin A. Olken: w24383
Bureaucracies often post staff to better or worse locations, ostensibly to provide incentives. Yet we know little about whether this works, with heterogeneity in preferences over postings impacting effectiveness. We propose a performance-ranked serial dictatorship mechanism, whereby bureaucrats sequentially choose desired locations in order of performance. We evaluate this using a two-year field experiment with 525 property tax inspectors in Pakistan. The mechanism increases annual tax revenue growth by 30-41 percent. Inspectors that our model predicts face high equilibrium incentives under the scheme indeed increase performance more. Our results highlight the potential of periodic merit-based postings in enhancing bureaucratic performance.

Published: Adnan Q. Khan & Asim Ijaz Khwaja & Benjamin A. Olken, 2019. "Making Moves Matter: Experimental Evidence on Incentivizing Bureaucrats through Performance-Based Postings," American Economic Review, vol 109(1), pages 237-270.

October 2014Tax Farming Redux: Experimental Evidence on Performance Pay for Tax Collectors
with Asim I. Khwaja, Benjamin A. Olken: w20627
Performance pay for tax collectors has the potential to raise revenues, but might come at a cost if taxpayers face undue pressure from collectors. We report the first large-scale field experiment on these issues, where we experimentally allocated 482 property tax units in Punjab, Pakistan into one of three performance-pay schemes or a control. After two years, incentivized units had 9.3 log points higher revenue than controls, which translates to a 46 percent higher growth rate. The scheme that rewarded purely on revenue did best, increasing revenue by 12.8 log points (62 percent higher growth rate), with little penalty for customer satisfaction and assessment accuracy compared to the two other schemes that explicitly also rewarded these dimensions. Further analysis reveals that these reve...

Published: Adnan Q. Khan & Asim I. Khwaja & Benjamin A. Olken, 2016. "Tax Farming Redux: Experimental Evidence on Performance Pay for Tax Collectors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol 131(1), pages 219-271.

February 2013The Impact of Social Networks on Labour Market Outcomes: New Evidence from Cape Breton
with Steven F. Lehrer: w18786
Debates centered on the role of social networks as a determinant of labour market outcomes have a long history in economics and sociology; however, determining causality remains a challenge. In this study we use information on random assignment to a unique intervention to identify the impact of changes in the size of alternative social network measures on subsequent employment at both the individual and community level. Our results indicate that being assigned to the treatment protocol significantly increased the size of social networks, particularly weak ties. Nevertheless, these increases did not translate into improved employment outcomes 18 months following study completion. We do not find any evidence of treatment effect heterogeneity based on the initial size of one's social network;...

Published: Adnan Q. Khan & Steven F. Lehrer, 2013. "The Impact of Social Networks on Labour Market Outcomes: New Evidence from Cape Breton," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 39(s1), pages 1-24, May. citation courtesy of

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