Abhijit Banerjee et al. on Improving Police Performance

DATE: 2021-10-13

        In 'Improving Police Performance in Rajasthan, India: Experimental Evidence on Incentives, Managerial Autonomy, and Training,' published in the American Economic Journal in February 2021, SAGE Academic Committee member Abhijit Banerjee, along with co-authors Raghabendra Chattopadhyay, Esther Duflo, Daniel Keniston, and Nina Singh, examine optimal practices in hierarchical government organizations. Read the full paper here (AEA membership or institutional access required).


        Management matters for firms, but what practices are optimal in hierarchical government organizations? And can skilled managers identify them? A large-scale randomized trial conducted with the police of Rajasthan, India, tested four interventions recommended by senior police officers: limitations of transfers, rotation of duties and days off, increased community involvement, and on-duty training. Field experience motivated a fifth intervention: 'decoy' visits by enumerators to register cases, incentivizing staff to improve service. Only training and decoy visits had robust impacts; others were poorly implemented and ineffective. Management reforms can improve policing, but even skilled leaders struggle to identify the optimal interventions.

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