GLF Ali Hasanain presents at the International Growth Center's Growth Week

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Ali Hasanain presented a paper in the Pakistan Country Session at the International Growth Center (IGC)’s annual Growth Week on September 23rd. 

Ali presented joint work with Michael Callen (Harvard), Saad Gulzar (NYU), Yasir Khan (IGC) and Arman Rezaee (UCSD) exploring how government officials’ personalities relate to their job performances. Aizaz Akhtar, the head of Punjab’s Special Monitoring Unit, and Afzal Latif, the Education Secretary of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, served as discussants, while Dr. Ijaz Nabi, IGC’s Pakistan country director, chaired the session.

Paper abstract

Personalities and Public Sector Performance: Evidence from a Health Experiment in Pakistan

This paper provides evidence that the personality of policy actors matters for policy outcomes. We examine the relationship between personalities, job performance, and responses to experimental policy changes in Punjab combining: (i) Big Five personality and Perry Public Sector Motivation tests of the universe of health inspectors and senior health officials and a large and representative sample of doctors; (ii) measures of job performance from unannounced visits to health facilities; (iii) a randomized evaluation of a novel smart phone monitoring technology; (iv) experimental manipulations of the presentation of data on doctor absence to senior health officials. Three results support the relevance of personalities for policy outcomes. First, Big Five characteristics and Public Sector Motivation positively predict doctor attendance and negatively predict whether doctors collude with inspectors to falsify reports. Second, smartphone monitoring has the largest impact on health inspectors with high Big Five characteristics—a one SD increase in the Big Five index is associated with a 35 percentage point differential increase in inspections in response to treatment. Last, senior health officials with high Big Five characteristics are most likely to respond to a report of an under-performing clinic as measured by improved subsequent performance at the facility—one SD higher senior health official Big Five index is associated with an additional 40 percentage point reduction in doctor absence following an underperforming facility flag in treatment districts.