Muhammad Yasir Khan

University of California at Berkeley
2220 Piedmont Ave
Student Services Building 545
Berkeley, CA 94720

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Institutional Affiliation: University of California at Berkeley

NBER Working Papers and Publications

August 2020Data and Policy Decisions: Experimental Evidence from Pakistan
with Michael Callen, Saad Gulzar, Syed Ali Hasanain, Arman B. Rezaee: w27678
We evaluate a program in Pakistan that equips government health inspectors with a smartphone app which channels data on rural clinics to senior policy makers. The system led to rural clinics being inspected 104% more often after 6 months, but only 43.8% more often after a year, with the latter estimate not attaining significance at conventional levels. There is also no clear evidence that the increase in inspections led to increases in general staff attendance. In addition, we test whether senior officials act on the information provided by the system. Focusing only on districts where the app is deployed, we find that highlighting poorly performing facilities on a dashboard viewed by supervisors raises doctor attendance by 75%. Our results indicate that technology may be able to mobilize d...

Published: Michael Callen & Saad Gulzar & Ali Hasanain & Muhammad Yasir Khan & Arman Rezaee, 2020. "Data and policy decisions: Experimental evidence from Pakistan," Journal of Development Economics, vol 146.

June 2016The Political Economy of Public Sector Absence: Experimental Evidence from Pakistan
with Michael Callen, Saad Gulzar, Syed Ali Hasanain: w22340
Public sector absenteeism undermines service delivery in many developing countries. We report results from an at-scale randomized control evaluation in Punjab, Pakistan of a reform designed to address this problem. The reform affects healthcare for 100 million citizens across 297 political constituencies. It equips government inspectors with a smartphone monitoring system and leads to a 76% increase in inspections. However, the surge in inspections does not always translate into increased doctor attendance. The scale of the experiment permits an investigation into the mechanisms underlying this result. We find that experimentally increasing the salience of doctor absence when communicating inspection reports to senior policymakers improves subsequent doctor attendance. Next, we find that b...
February 2016Using Preference Estimates to Customize Incentives: An Application to Polio Vaccination Drives in Pakistan
with James Andreoni, Michael Callen, Karrar Jaffar, Charles Sprenger: w22019
We use estimates of time preferences to customize incentives for polio vaccinators in Lahore, Pakistan. We measure time preferences using intertemporal allocations of effort, and derive the mapping between these estimates and individually optimized incentives. We evaluate the effect of matching contract terms to discounting parameters in a subsequent experiment with the same vaccinators. Our tailored policy is compared to alternatives that either rely on atheoretic reduced-form relationships for policy guidance or apply the same policy to all individuals. We find that contracts tailored to individual discounting outperform this range of policy alternatives.
May 2015Personalities and Public Sector Performance: Evidence from a Health Experiment in Pakistan
with Michael Callen, Saad Gulzar, Ali Hasanain, Arman Rezaee: w21180
This paper provides evidence that the personalities of policymakers matter for policy. Three results support the relevance of personalities for policy. First, doctors with higher Big Five and Perry Public Sector Motivation scores attend work more and falsify inspection reports less. Second, health inspectors who score higher on these measures exhibit larger treatment responses to increased monitoring. Last, senior health officials with higher personality scores respond more to data on staff absence by compelling better subsequent attendance. These results suggest that interpersonal differences matter are consequential for state performance.
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