This project proposes to support the work of the Government of Punjab, Pakistan, overall, and the Ministry of Agriculture in particular, in their effort to improve service delivery through improved systems of client outreach and higher quality service provision by public sector employees. For the Ministry of Agriculture, this entails improving the performance of all staff providing advisory services to farmers—in particular, field staff, who are on the front lines of this effort.
Over the last year, all field staff -- Agriculture Extension Officers (AOs), Agriculture Assistants (AIs), and Field Assistants (FAs) – have been provided a smartphone equipped with a monitoring system (Agri-Smart) to track their location and activities. The Ministry of Agriculture is now putting in place performance based pay incentives using the Agri-Smart system, to reward greater outreach efforts by field staff. The goal is to improve agricultural productivity which is seen as critical for both poverty reduction and growth.
Agricultural service delivery involves complex tasks where effort is multi-dimensional with some dimensions harder to monitor than others. This is a setting where the choice is unclear between the known advantages and disadvantages of objective versus subjective performance evaluation systems. Further, since bias is a common issue in all subjective evaluation systems, there is a potential benefit for increased monitoring of supervisors themselves.
We proposed to the Ministry of Agriculture to evaluate the impact of three alternative performance pay systems which vary in terms of objectivity and alignment of staff incentives with the Directorate.