E-monitoring and Organizational Structure: Experimental Evidence from Sierra Leone
Digital technologies have advanced more rapidly than any other innovation in history. The gains from technology are however very heterogeneous across sectors and firms. This proposal aims to study: (i) the ways governments can leverage new e-monitoring technologies to improve the supply of public services, and (ii) whether gains from these technologies depend on the “verticality” of the organization (the ratio of supervisors to workers). Technology might substitute in-person supervision, but might also complement supervisors’ activities, by allowing them to reallocate time towards more complex and productive activities, e.g., customized training and advising. This may in turn affect the optimal verticality of the organization and public service delivery. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Sierra Leone, we propose an experiment that will cross-randomize the introduction of a new e-monitoring app to be installed on the frontline health workers’ phones, with variation in the share of supervisors to workers.