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Fields Changed


Field Before After
Last Published January 22, 2021 11:00 AM September 28, 2023 11:05 AM
Study Withdrawn No
Intervention Completion Date December 31, 2016
Data Collection Complete Yes
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization) 587 offices
Was attrition correlated with treatment status? No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations 587 offices
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms 136 control offices. 150 incentives offices. 148 autonomy offices. 153 both offices.
Public Data URL
Is there a restricted access data set available on request? No
Program Files Yes
Program Files URL
Data Collection Completion Date April 30, 2017
Is data available for public use? Yes
Keyword(s) Governance, Labor Governance, Labor
Building on Existing Work No
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Field Before After
Paper Abstract We design a field experiment to study how the allocation of authority between frontline procurement officers and their monitors affects performance both directly and through the response to incentives. In collaboration with the government of Punjab, Pakistan, we shift authority from monitors to procurement officers and introduce financial incentives in a sample of 600 procurement officers in 26 districts. We find that autonomy alone reduces prices by 9% without reducing quality and that the effect is stronger when the monitor tends to delay approvals for purchases until the end of the fiscal year. In contrast, the effect of performance pay is muted, except when agents face a monitor who does not delay approvals. Time use data reveal agents’ responses vary along the same margin: autonomy increases the time devoted to procurement and this leads to lower prices only when monitors cause delays. By contrast, incentives work when monitors do not cause delays. The results illustrate that organizational design and anti-corruption policies must balance agency issues at different levels of the hierarchy.
Paper Citation Bandiera, Oriana, Michael Carlos Best, Adnan Qadir Khan and Andrea Prat, "The Allocation of Authority in Organizations: A Field Experiment with Bureaucrats", The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Volume 136, Issue 4, November 2021, Pages 2195–2242
Paper URL
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