Motivating Bureaucrats Through Social Recognition: External Validity — A Tale of Two States

48 Pages Posted: 21 May 2019

See all articles by Varun Gauri

Varun Gauri

World Bank; World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Julian C. Jamison

University of Exeter Business School - Department of Economics; World Bank eMBeD (Mind, Behavior, and Development); Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL); Innovations for Poverty Action

Nina Mazar

Boston University - Questrom School of Business

Owen W. Ozier

World Bank - Development Economics Group (DEC); World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Abstract

Bureaucratic performance is a crucial determinant of economic growth, but little real-world evidence exists on how to improve it, especially in resource-constrained settings. We conducted a field experiment of a social recognition intervention to improve record keeping in health facilities in two Nigerian states, replicating the intervention - implemented by a single organization - on bureaucrats performing identical tasks. Social recognition improved performance in one state but had no effect in the other, highlighting both the potential benefits and also the sometimes-limited generalizability of behavioral interventions. Furthermore, differences in facility-level observables did not explain cross-state differences in impacts, suggesting that it may often be difficult to predict external validity.

Keywords: RCT, external validity, bureaucracy, behavioral insights, nudges, healthcare

JEL Classification: C93, D73, D91, I18, L38, O35

Suggested Citation

Gauri, Varun and Jamison, Julian C. and Mazar, Nina and Ozier, Owen W., Motivating Bureaucrats Through Social Recognition: External Validity — A Tale of Two States. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12251. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3390241

Varun Gauri (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/vgauri

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Julian C. Jamison

University of Exeter Business School - Department of Economics ( email )

Streatham Court
Exeter, EX4 4RJ
United Kingdom

World Bank eMBeD (Mind, Behavior, and Development) ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) ( email )

30 Wadsworth Street, E53-320
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Innovations for Poverty Action ( email )

1731 Connecticut Ave, 4th floor
New Haven, CT 20009
United States

Nina Mazar

Boston University - Questrom School of Business ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA MA 02215
United States

Owen W. Ozier

World Bank - Development Economics Group (DEC) ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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