Building State Capacity and National Unity with Market Design: The Problem of Volunteer Assignment in Kenya's G-United Program
This project capitalizes on an opportunity to redesign a centralized labor market match to address two questions related to improving personnel management in bureaucracies and improving national unity. The program, G-United, places Kenyan university graduates in primary schools around the country to improve student learning and boost national cohesion, but the program suffers from high levels of volunteer attrition. In the first part of this project, we apply insights from market design to improve the assignment system to incorporate applicants’ idiosyncratic preferences to reduce attrition and improve applicant satisfaction and performance. Second, the project will evaluate the program’s influence on applicants’ attitudes regarding inter-tribal trust and national identity. An intermediate output of this project is the development and evaluation of a novel, incentive compatible salary adjustment process, allowing for financial bonuses to compensate for less preferred assignments. It is hoped that this mechanism may have broad applications in civil service assignment in both the developing world and beyond.