Strengthening state capacity and enhancing bureaucratic effectiveness

Project Active from to State and State Effectiveness

Developing state capacity is essential for promoting economic growth and development. This does not only involve developing fiscal capacity of the state by improving its resource mobilization techniques but also ensuring that a well-functioning and motivated bureaucracy is in place that can deliver essential services.

Over the last decade, a reasonably large literature has explored the role of incentives and selection for public sector performance. However, a majority of this work focuses on frontline providers and not the middle and upper echelons of bureaucracy where much of management, administration, and policy decisions are made, and organizational culture and norms are shaped. This tier of the bureaucracy remains a black box where several open questions remain such as who selects into the service? What designs of incentives would be feasible given the multi-dimensionality of tasks? How effective are on-the-job trainings for improving skills and/or shaping organizational norms? Are certain preferences and biases of bureaucrats’ important binding constraints to good performance?

This project is an endeavor to start exploring some of these questions in the context of Pakistan. We plan to work with different public service agencies in Pakistan such as civil service training academies and other selected civil service departments to unpack similar questions as those posed above.

This research will support the Government of Pakistan better design and implement civil service reforms and build more effective public sector organizations. It will directly feed into policy at relevant agencies at the provincial and federal levels. This will also result in building the platform for a longer-term collaboration between the research team and these agencies that will result in more research collaborations in future that are on the research and policy frontier.