Influence Activities and Bureaucratic Performance: Experimental Evidence from China
Subjective performance evaluation is widely used by firms and governments to provide work incentives. However, delegating evaluation power to senior leadership could cause influence activities: agents might devote much efforts to please their supervisors, rather than focusing on productive tasks that benefit their organizations. In this paper, we conduct a large-scale randomized field experiment among Chinese grassroots civil servants and provide the first quantitative evidence on the existence and implications of influence activities. We find that introducing uncertainty in the identity of the evaluator, which discourages evaluator-specific influence activities, can significantly improve the performance of state employees.

Guojun He is an assistant professor in Social Science, Environment and Sustainability, and Economics at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). He is a faculty affiliate of HKUST’s Institute for Emerging Market Studies and Institute for Public Policy.

Faculty host: Jean Hong (
Speaker(s) Prof Guojun He
Division of Social Science, HKUST
Date 1 Apr 2019 (Monday)
Time 12:00 - 1:30 pm
Venue Room 3301 (via lifts 17-18), Academic Building, HKUST
Prof Guojun He
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
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