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IFS/STICERD/UCL Development Work in Progress Seminar

Command and Can't Control: An Evaluation of Centralized Accountability in the Public Sector

Daniel Rogger (World Bank and Institute for Fiscal Studies)

Thursday 06 April 2023 13:00 - 14:00

Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.

Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.

Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.

About this event

By reducing information asymmetries across the hierarchy, the digitization of government services presents an opportunity for centralized management of frontline staff. In particular, high-frequency granular data can enable senior government officials to hold poorly performing members of the service delivery chain to account. To be effective, however, centralized management must translate large volumes of data into appropriate management actions. This paper studies this tension by evaluating a large-scale centralized accountability approach to managing education carried out at scale in Punjab, Pakistan. We find that a system that automatically identified poorly performing schools and jurisdictions for the attention of central management had no appreciable impact on the trajectory of school outcomes across any area of its focus. We contrast this result with the significant impact that frontline managers (head teachers) can have on school outcomes across the same areas and the potential for using centralized information systems to optimize the allocation of managerial talent across the public sector.

This seminar series is jointly organized by the IFS, STICERD, and UCL.

IFS/STICERD/UCL Development Economics Work In Progress seminars are held on Thursdays in term time at 13:00-14:00, at the IFS, unless specified otherwise.

Seminar organisers: Oriana Bandiera (STICERD, LSE), Imran Rasul (UCL), Britta Augsburg (IFS) and Jonathan Weigel (LSE).

For further information please contact Britta Augsburg:

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