Management and Bureaucratic Effectiveness: Evidence from the Ghanaian Civil Service
Abstract: We study the relationship between management practices and bureaucratic output, using an original survey of the universe of Ghanaian civil servants across 45 organizations and administrative data on over 3600 tasks and projects they undertake. We first demonstrate that there is a large range of variation across government organizations, both in management quality and output delivery. We then show that output exhibits a positive partial correlation with autonomy/discretion-related practices, but a negative partial correlation with incentives/monitoring-related practices. We investigate the external validity of this relationship in a separate sample of bureaucrats and outputs from Nigeria. While these results contrast with the frequent policy emphasis on introducing top-down monitoring and incentives as a means to elicit agent effort, we show that the findings are consistent with theories of bureaucratic coordination, intrinsic motivation, influence activities, and output clarity. We discuss implications for theory, empirical methodology, and policy.