Peer Effects and Conformity in Bureaucratic Inefficiency

We propose studying the role of conformity and peer effects in corrupt behavior among bureaucrats of a large public service provider in Kenya. Peer pressure has been shown to have the potential to increase productivity and may have the potential to discipline peers, and this may be particularly true when supplemented with pressure to conform to a stacked peer group of role models. Exploiting GPS-tracked company vehicle data combined with administrative personnel and task records, we first aim to construct measures of corrupt behavior and productivity and study their relationship with bureaucrat characteristics. Second, we plan to run a series of randomized controlled trials re-assigning worst offenders and new hires to above median peers and exposing them to a stacked set of role models in job training seminars. Finally, we reveal the existence of the monitoring technology to all bureaucrats and observe subsequent outcomes.

RFP Cycle:
Fall 2018
  • Pilot project