Improving Police Performance in Rajasthan, India: Experimental Evidence on Incentives, Managerial Autonomy and Training

46 Pages Posted: 17 Mar 2012 Last revised: 28 Mar 2012

See all articles by Abhijit V. Banerjee

Abhijit V. Banerjee

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics

Raghabendra Chattopadhyay

Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC)

Esther Duflo

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD)

Daniel Keniston

Yale University - Department of Economics

Nina Singh

Inspector General of Police - Rajasthan

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2012

Abstract

The role of good management practices in organizations has recently been emphasized. Do the same principles also apply in government organizations, even the most bureaucratic and hierarchical of them? And can skilled, motivated managers identify how to improve these practices, or is there a role for outsiders to help them in this task? Two unique large-scale randomized trials conducted in collaboration with the state police of Rajasthan, India sought to increase police efficiency and improve interactions with the public. In a sample of 162 police stations serving almost 8 million people, the first experiment tested four interventions recommended by police reform panels: limitations of arbitrary transfers, rotation of duty assignments and days off, increased community involvement, and on-duty training. Field experience motivated a novel fifth intervention: “decoy” visits by field officers posing as citizens attempting to register cases, which gave constables incentives to behave more professionally. Only two of these, training and decoy visits, had robust impacts. The other three, which would have reduced middle managers’ autonomy, were poorly implemented and ineffective. Building upon these findings, we designed a second experiment that provided explicit incentives to police officers to carry out sobriety traffic checkpoints and did not rely on middle managers. Linking good performance with the promise of a transfer from the reserve barracks to a desirable police station posting, these incentives worked within existing organizational constraints and had very large effects on performance.

Suggested Citation

Banerjee, Abhijit V. and Chattopadhyay, Raghabendra and Duflo, Esther and Keniston, Daniel and Singh, Nina, Improving Police Performance in Rajasthan, India: Experimental Evidence on Incentives, Managerial Autonomy and Training (March 2012). NBER Working Paper No. w17912. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2025301

Abhijit V. Banerjee (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

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Raghabendra Chattopadhyay

Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC) ( email )

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Calcutta, West Bengal 700104
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HOME PAGE: http://ssrn.com/author=289009

Esther Duflo

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
Room E52-544
Cambridge, MA 02139
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617-258-7013 (Phone)
617-253-6915 (Fax)

Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.povertyactionlab.org/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD) ( email )

Duke University
Durham, NC 90097
United States

Daniel Keniston

Yale University - Department of Economics ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
United States
203-432-3620 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://keniston.commons.yale.edu

Nina Singh

Inspector General of Police - Rajasthan ( email )

Jaipur, Rajasthan
India

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