Type: Seminar

Promotions and productivity: The role of meritocracy and pay progression in the public sector

Economic Development Seminar (EDS)


Dr. Erika Deserranno (Northwestern University)

Date & time

Apr 8, 2021, 4:00-5:30 pm EDT


This is a Virtual Event.

Abstract: We study promotion incentives in the public sector by means of a field experiment with the Ministry of Health in Sierra Leone. The experiment creates exogenous variation in meritocracy by linking promotions to performance and variation in perceived pay progression among the lowest tier of health workers. We find that meritocratic promotions lead to higher productivity, and more so when workers expect a steep pay increase. However, when promotions are not meritocratic, increasing the pay gradient reduces productivity through negative morale effects. The findings highlight the importance of taking into account the interactions between different tools of personnel policy.

If you are interested in attending this seminar, please email [email protected]