Just for Fun


(publications and working papers [WP], by section, in reverse chronological order)

Academic: Papers

[Job market paper] Daniel Rogger, The Causes and Consequences of Political Interference in Bureaucratic Decision Making: Evidence from Nigeria

Both politicians and bureaucrats are viewed as critically important agents in growth and public welfare. This paper investigates the causes and consequences of interactions between these agents, along two key margins: which bureaucrats a politician delegates the delivery of public projects to, and the incentives that politicians provide to those bureaucrats. To investigate these issues, I assemble a novel data set from Nigeria, which combines the political careers of politicians, measures of their interactions with bureaucrats, and credible audits of the projects they deliver. I find that politicians facing high levels of political competition are more likely to (1) delegate the implementation of public projects in their constituency to more autonomous organizations; and (2) provide informal incentives to bureaucrats in those organizations. Guided by a moral hazard model, I assess the separate impacts of the delegation and incentive margins using an instrumental variables strategy. I find that delegation to more productive bureaucrats is the key channel through which politicians improve the bureaucracy's output when faced with high levels of political competition. The results have implications for the design of organizations that regulate politicians' interactions with the bureaucracy.

[WP] Imran Rasul and Daniel Rogger, Management of Bureaucrats and Public Service Delivery: Evidence from the Nigerian Civil Service

Revise and Resubmit, American Economic Review

We study how the management practices that bureaucrats operate under, correlate to the quantity and quality of public services delivered. We do so in a developing country context, exploiting data from the Nigerian Civil Service linking public sector organizations to the projects they are responsible for. For each of 4700 projects, we have hand coded independent engineering assessments of each project’s completion rate and delivered quality. We supplement this information with a survey to elicit management practices for bureaucrats in the 63 civil service organizations responsible for these projects, following the approach of Bloom and Van Reenen [2007]. Management practices matter: a one standard deviation increase in autonomy for bureaucrats corresponds to significantly higher project completion rates of 18%; a one standard deviation increase in practices related to incentives and monitoring corresponds to significantly lower project completion rates of 14%. We provide evidence that the negative impacts of practices related to incentive provision/monitoring arise because bureaucrats multi-task and incentives are poorly targeted, and because these management practices capture elements of subjective performance evaluation that further leave scope for dysfunctional responses from bureaucrats. The backdrop to these results, where 38% of projects are never started, implies there are potentially large gains to marginally changing management practices for bureaucrats.

In the news: World Bank blog post by Markus Goldstein, Slate Magazine article by Ray Fisman and Tim Sullivan

[WP] Daniel Rogger, Does Trust Determine Organisational Output?

This paper assesses the extent to which a culture of trust within Nigerian public sector organisations determines productivity. Trust has a positive and significant impact on project outputs in an instrumental variables setup. The paper goes on to investigate the determinants of trust.

[WP] Daniel Rogger, How Does the Complexity of a Public Project Determine A Communities Ability to Monitor the Bureaucracy Who Implements It?

This paper seeks to understand whether communities struggle to monitor bureaucrats on complex public projects but are more able to monitor them when the projects are less complex. I model the interactions between citizens and bureaucrats along different margins of complexity and use data from the Nigerian public sector to test the model. I find that citizens ability to hold bureaucrats to account does vary significantly with the complexity of a project.

[WP] Daniel Rogger, Public Service Rules? Method and Measurement in Public Officials Surveys

Understanding corruption in developing country governments has typically been an exercise in association. Perceptions or measures of phenomena argued to be related to corruption are used as proxy measures. A different strategy is to directly survey public officials in corrupt settings. However, large scale exercises of this kind have been unfortunately rare and there is significant scope for further surveys. This paper outlines the key issues a researcher confronts in surveying public officials, how these have been mitigated and how we might interpret what the data tells us about life in the civil service.

[WP] It's Tough At The Top: The Impact of Complexity on the Success of Public Sector Projects

Analysis of government productivity has rarely taken account of the technical complexity of public projects. The implicit assumption is that complexity doesn't matter or is randomly allocated. To investigate the role of technical complexity in the completion of public projects, I develop a new set of complexity indicators with academics and engineers who are specialists in the area. We use these to collect data on the complexity of over 7000 public projects and investigate the impact of different forms of technical challenges to the completion of public projects.


Delivering Public Services in the Developing World: Frontiers of Research

Every five years I intend to publish an overview of research on the delivery of public services in the developing world, based on interviews with researchers and practitioners actively working in the field.

[WP] Daniel Rogger (2014), “Delivering Public Services in the Developing World: Frontiers of Research II ” [coming soon]

This essay presents a view of the frontiers of research on public service delivery in the developing world, based on a series of interviews with researchers and practitioners actively working in this field. It reviews how far the research literature has come since the publication of the World Development Report 2004 ten years ago. There is growing interest in expanding standard intervention-based research to determine effective methods for its delivery. However, a lack of data on the internal workings of many providers inhibits rapid progress in the development of this literature.

Daniel Rogger (2009), “Delivering Public Services in the Developing World: Frontiers of Research” Oxonomics 4:1, pp.19-24

This essay presents a view of the frontiers of research on public service delivery in the developing world, based on a series of interviews with researchers and practitioners actively working in this field. It recognizes the lasting contribution of the theoretical framework laid down by the World Development Report 2004 that emphasized accountability, and the randomized evaluations that have taken place to test and develop this theory. Research on other questions, such as those relating to the analysis of politics and the structure and organization of government, is at an earlier stage, and is likely to need a more structural approach. There are many questions still to be answered in this field.


Academic: Books

[Draft] Daniel Rogger, Voices from the Service: The inside story of the Nigerian civil service

[Draft] Daniel Rogger, Delivering Public Goods in the Developing World: Theory and Empirics

  • Appendix 1, 'Studies Related to the Impacts of Public Goods', is available here [coming soon]



Martin Alsop, Jonathan Phillips and Daniel Rogger (forthcoming), “Debt Relief and Poverty Reduction in Nigeria”, National Institute for Social and Economic Research Series on Economic Policy, Ibadan: NISER

Emla Fitzsimons et al. (2012), “UK Development Aid” Institute for Fiscal Studies Green Budget 2012, pp. 142 - 161

In 2010, the UK government spent £8.45 billion – 0.57% of Gross National Income (GNI) – on Overseas Development Aid (ODA), mainly through the Department for International Development. This is set to rise to £12 billion in 2013 in order to fulfil the commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on ODA, something that is particularly controversial against the backdrop of fiscal austerity for almost all other areas of public expenditure. The decision to increase aid spending raises some obvious questions and concerns.

Anthony Costello et al. (2009), “Managing the health effects of climate change” The Lancet 373: 9676, pp. 1693 - 1733 (see here for other associated documents)

Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. Effects of climate change on health will affect most populations in the next decades and put the lives and wellbeing of billions of people at increased risk. During this century, earth’s average surface temperature rises are likely to exceed the safe threshold of 2°C above preindustrial average temperature. Rises will be greater at higher latitudes, with medium-risk scenarios predicting 2–3°C rises by 2090 and 4–5°C rises in northern Canada, Greenland, and Siberia. In this report, we have outlined the major threats - both direct and indirect - to global health from climate change through changing patterns of disease, water and food insecurity, vulnerable shelter and human settlements, extreme climatic events, and population growth and migration. Although vector-borne diseases will expand their reach and death tolls, especially among elderly people, will increase because of heatwaves, the indirect effects of climate change on water, food security, and extreme climatic events are likely to have the biggest effect on global health.

Pam Meadows and Daniel Rogger (2005), “Low-Income Homeowners in Britain: Descriptive Analysis” Public policy paper for the UK Department of Work and Pensions


Teaching and Public Engagement

[WP] Daniel Rogger, “Water Get Enemy: The Story of Delivering Public Services in the Developing World

This is a fictional story that sketches the passage of a public project through a developing country government. It aims to introduce the reader to the challenges of delivering public services in the developing world. I have made a (shortened) audio version available as an mp3 or iTunes podcast.

Daniel Rogger, Introductory notes on mechanism design for UCL PhD microeconomics course



Alex Armand et al. (2009), 'Assessing the Impact of Infant Mortality upon the Fertility Decisions of Mothers in India', Aenorm 64:17 (chosen as the best overall paper submitted to the Econometric Game 2009 judges)

'Why Interdisciplinarity?', Institute for Global Health Annual Report 2008/9

Interdisciplinary collaboration has recently been attracting increasing support as an approach to research. Universities are setting up interdisciplinary institutes and schools. Funding bodies are earmarking increasingly large sums to collaborative research projects. Historically hailed as a paradigm but underfunded, interdisciplinarity finally seems to be hitting the financial big time.

'Making the Most of Being a Student at UCL Economics Department', Equilibrium newspaper November 2008 (Equilibrium is the UCL economics department in-house magazine, and archived issues can be found here)

'ODI fellows: Developing or Damaging?', ODI fellows newsletter, October 2006



Letters to my generation, a blog on philosophy

Adventures in interdisciplinarity, a 'blogette' on my experiences of interdisciplinarity


Just for Fun

Daniel Rogger (2008), "For a moment of confusion: The dismal lives of economic agents", Revise and Resubmit, Journal of Universal Rejection