My areas of research interest include economic development, political economy of development and state fragility, state capacity, and social protection. My work often involves setting up long term collaborations with policy actors to study real-world questions through field experiments conducted at scale.
Preparing for Crises: Lessons from Covid-19. (with Jishnu Das, Georgetown, Asim Khwaja, Harvard, and Anum Malkani, CERP) LSE Public Policy Review, May 2021.
Making Moves Matter: Experimental Evidence on Incentivizing Bureaucrats through Performance-Based Postings (with Benjamin Olken, MIT, and Asim Khwaja, Harvard). American Economic Review, January 2019.
- PEGNET Best Practice Award 2017 granted at the Poverty Reduction, Equity and Growth Network Conference 2017 at Zurich for effective interaction between research and practice.
- J-PAL Evaluation Summary (Spanish version)
- VoxDev Video, Podcast
Tax Farming Redux: Experimental Evidence on Incentive Pay for Tax Collectors (with Benjamin Olken, MIT, and Asim Khwaja, Harvard) Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2016.
- JPAL Policy Briefcase: Paying for Performance
- 3ie Policy Report: Property Tax Experiment in Punjab, Pakistan
- Blog on Microeconomic Insights: Impact of incentives on tax collectors and taxpayers
- Documentary on the project (won First prize at LSE Research Festival 2014)
Breaking the countercylical pattern of local democracy in Pakistan (with Ali Cheema, LUMS, and Roger Myerson, Chicago) for Jean-Paul Faguet adnd Caroline Pöschl’s ‘Is Decentralization Good for Development: Perspectives from Academics and Policy Makers’, Oxford University Press, 2013. Univ of Chicago Manuscript.
The Impact of Social Networks on Labour Market Outcomes: New Evidence from Cape Breton (with Steven Lehrer, Queen’s) NBER Working Paper, Canadian Public Policy 2013. NBER Working Paper
Capacity Development for Education Service Delivery in Pakistan: Top Down Devolution (with David Watson) in Public Administration and Development 2010.
Decentralization in Pakistan: Context, Content and Causes (with Asim Khwaja, Harvard and Ali Cheema, LUMS), for Pranab Bardhan and Dilip Mookherjee’s ‘Decentralization and Local Governance in Developing Countries’, MIT Press, USA 2006.
Working Papers and Current Projects
The Allocation of Authority in Organizations: A Field Experiment with Bureaucrats (with Oriana Bandiera, LSE, Andrea Prat, Columbia, and Michael Best, Columbia). 2021. Conditionally Accepted, Quarterly Journal of Economics.
Building Trust in the State with Information: Evidence from Urban Punjab (with Andreas Stegmann, Warwick, Mahvish Shaukat, World Bank, and Sanval Nasim, LUMS). 2020. Revise and Resubmit, Journal of Public Economics.
Policy Decisions and Evidence Use among Civil Servants: A Group Decision Experiment in Pakistan Evidence Use (with Laura Metzger, HKS, Theodore Svoronos, HKS). CID, STICERD Working Paper.
- Policy Insights Brief: Does Group Collaboration Lead to Better Decision Making for South Asian Civil Servants?
Political Connections and Vote Choice: Evidence from Pakistan (with Jake Shapiro, Princeton, Michael Callen, LSE, Asad Liaqat, Facebook, Ali Cheema, LUMS, and Farooq Naseer, LUMS).
- J-PAL Evaluation Summary.
The Design of Social Protection Programs for the Ultra-Poor: Asset Transfers versus Unconditional Cash Transfers (with Robin Burgess, LSE, Oriana Bandiera, LSE, Imran Rasul, UCL).
Rebuilding the Social Compact: Urban Service Delivery and Property Taxes in Pakistan (with Benjamin Olken, MIT, Asim Khwaja, Harvard, and Mahvish Shaukat, World Bank).
Judicial Access and Development: Evidence from Pakistan (with Daniel Chen, Toulouse, and Sultan Mehmood, New Economic School).
Graduating out of Poverty: Testing the impact of Cash Transfers vs. Lump-sum Grants (with Benjamin Olken, MIT, and Rema Hanna, HKS).
Transforming the Public Sector by Improving Bureaucratic Performance: Mission Match and Slack in Bangladesh (with Timothy Besley, LSE, and Dan Honig, John Hopkins)
Institutional Reforms in Policing: Accountability, Organisational Culture and Social Norms (with Daron Acemoglu, MIT, Claudio Ferraz, UBC, and Zahra Mansoor, Oxford)
Strengthening State Capacity and Enhancing Bureaucratic Effectiveness (with Zahra Mansoor, Oxford).
Bureaucracy and Development (with Timothy Besley, LSE, Robin Burgess, LSE, and Guo Xu, Berkeley).
Effect of Capacity in Delivery of Urban Services (with Gharad Bryan, LSE, Gerard Padro i Miquel, Yale, Asad Liaqat, Facebook, and Ali Cheema, LUMS).
- State Capacity in Punjab’s Local Governments: Benchmarking Existing Deficits. (with Gharad Bryan, Ali Cheema, Ameera Jamal, Asad Liaqat and Gerard Padro i Miquel). June 2019.
Precision versus Proximity: Evidence from Survey Experiments with Civil Servants in India and Pakistan (with Michael Callen, LSE, Asim Khwaja, Harvard, and Asad Liaqat, Facebook).
Evaluating the Take-up, Usage, and Impact of Mobile Money Accounts (with Greg Fischer, LSE, Joshua Blumenstock, Berkeley).
Technology Adoption and Mobile-phone based Agricultural Advice (with Shawn Cole, HBS).
Effect of Employment on Volunteering and Health Outcomes: Evidence from a Community Employment Project in Canada (with Steven Lehrer, Queens).
Identifying the Impact of Decentralization: Evidence from Pakistan (with Ali Cheema, LUMS, and Asim Khwaja, Harvard).