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Development Discussion Paper
Manager Assignment and Project Returns: Evidence from the World Bank
Nicola Limodio
August 2016
Paper No' EOPP 061:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: O19; M50; D61

Tags: development lending; personnel economics; international organizations; cost-benefit analysis

I study the impact of World Bank managers on project success through the value-added method. Manager effects are interpretable as performance indices and are more volatile than country effects. Both correlate positively with determinants of productivity (i.e., schooling and institutions respectively) and provide evidence of a negative assortative matching, with high-performing managers assigned to low-performing countries. Exploiting a novel variation for World Bank board access, I find a significant manager premium for countries in the board. All of these results are consistent with the World Bank behaving as a planner which assigns its managers as project inputs to client countries.