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Thematic Insight: Motivating and monitoring public service provision

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The ability to recruit, elicit effort from, and retain civil servants is a central issue for any government. Poor performance of frontline civil servants (e.g., teachers, health workers, tax collectors) suggests that governments need to find and deploy more effective approaches to improve the delivery of public services that underpin human and economic development.

In this brief, we discuss preliminary findings from ongoing impact evaluations that test two types of tools – incentives and information – that policymakers can use to improve the quality of public services delivered to citizens. We will explore how policymakers can leverage incentives to select, motivate, and retain civil servants; and how information and monitoring can be used to motivate both direct employees (i.e., civil servants), and indirect employees (i.e., contractors).

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