The first part of the course covers classic issues in personnel economics. It looks at recruitment into civil service and at screening of job applicants with imperfect information. It also covers incentives for candidates to signal ability and to invest in relevant skills. Finally it covers performance evaluation and the design of monetary and non-monetary incentives to elicit good performance.
The second part of the course covers political economy of bureaucratic decision making. It analyses bureaucratic working using the principal-agent and game-theoretic frameworks. It discusses the role of formal and informal institutions in development policy, looks at constraints imposed by collective action and credible commitment and explores ways of recognising and building on opportunities for policy change. It also covers issues of bureaucratic accountability and corruption and concludes with a discussion of uncertainty and biases in decision-making with an exploration of policy choices with partial knowledge of policy outcomes.
The final part of the course covers evidence based policy formulation and explores under what conditions policy actors effectively use evidence to inform policy decisions and discusses ways of shifting the culture of policy making. Finally it demonstrates some cases where good evidence is produced, understood and acted upon to shape policy in critical ways, even in environments characterised by limited resources and weak governance.