In large organizations, such as governments, reforms are hard to implement and frequently slowed down or cancelled due to resistance from civil servants (Gilley et al., 2009, UNDP, 2010). Designing an effective civil service reform not only requires understanding whether the reform has the potential to improve bureaucratic performance (conditional on successful implementation), but also understanding how to maximize its adoption. In collaboration with the Government of Liberia (GoL), we propose to randomize interventions accompanying the rollout of a new performance appraisal reform that aims to develop a more effective public sector.
Our study will estimate the causal effect of the reform on workers’ performance and investigate how to increase its uptake (first stage) by randomizing the way the reform is introduced in a total of approximately 450 administrative units. They will be broken down into 3 subgroups:
• In the Control units (approximately 150 units), the reform will be rolled out following the standard procedure of the Civil Service Agency (CSA): limited information provided to unit supervisors only.
• In “Information” units (approximately 100 units), both supervisors and supervisees will receive more in-depth information and training about the reform by attending a series of information training modules on the 3 components of the reform (performance planning, mid-year review, end-of year appraisal).
• The remaining “Information & Incentives” units will receive both the information/training sessions AND monetary incentives if they successfully adopt the reform. There will be two types of monetary incentives:
o Information and supervisor-only incentives (in approximately 100 units): the supervisor of each unit will be given a prize calculated using USD30 times the number of staff in their unit, if the reform is adopted by everyone in the unit (full compliance).
o Information and all-employees incentives (in approximately 100 units): a prize of USD30 will be given to each employee/supervisor if the reform is adopted by everyone in their unit (i.e., the incentives are shared equally across all staff, including but not limited to the supervisor).