Motivating bureaucrats through social recognition: external validity—a tale of two states
Jamison, Julian C.
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Citation (published version)Varun Gauri, Julian C Jamison, Nina Mazar, Owen Ozier. 2019. "Motivating bureaucrats through social recognition: External validity—A tale of two states." Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.obhdp.2019.05.005
Bureaucratic performance is a crucial determinant of economic growth, but little real-world evidence exists on how to improve it, especially in resource-constrained settings. We conducted a field experiment of a social recognition intervention to improve record keeping in health facilities in two Nigerian states, replicating the intervention – implemented by a single organization – on bureaucrats performing identical tasks. Social recognition improved performance in one state but had no effect in the other, highlighting both the potential benefits and also the sometimes-limited generalizability of behavioral interventions. Furthermore, differences in facility-level observables did not explain cross-state differences in impacts, suggesting that it may often be difficult to predict external validity.
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