The productivity and allocation of public personnel and funds: Evidence from government health facilities in Ghana

Frontline public services are delivered by government officials working in facilities spread across the country. Therefore, governments must decide how to allocate these scarce human resources and complement them with financial inputs. Paying these workers typically consumes a significant proportion of government expenditures. As such, governments have an enormous financial stake in hiring the correct number and type of workers, and in distributing them efficiently across different areas and different types of facilities. While apparent allocational issues are widely noted and much debated, surprisingly little empirical evidence exists on variation in public worker productivity (and hence allocational efficiency) within countries.

This project will help fill this gap by building on an ongoing collaboration between the researchers and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to estimate the returns to personnel and finance inputs in public service delivery. Co-designed and co-conducted with senior policymakers in GHS, this research will directly inform policy and allocation decisions on health personnel and funds in Ghana. Since all countries face similar allocational issues, the methodology developed will provide a blueprint for conducting similar analysis in other countries as well.

This project will provide evidence on productivity and allocation of public personnel and funds using:

  • GHS’s three-year panel of monthly facility-level administrative data on personnel, finance, health service delivery, and selected health outcomes (2016-18).
  • A geocoded dataset of all 8,883 health facilities and community health zones in Ghana, developed by Martin Williams and co-authors in work building on Williams’s IGC funded research on infrastructure delivery in Ghana.

Geolocated demographic and health data from censuses and household surveys. This unusually rich data will shed light on the relationship between these inputs, health service delivery, and selected health outcomes.

Outputs