Events & Seminars

Joint Seminar: SOSC/IEMS
Incentives, Favoritism and State Employee Performance: Evidence from a Large-Scale Randomized Control Trial (Thursday 15 Nov 2018)


State employees are difficult to be incentivized because of the multiplicity nature of their tasks and inherent problems of observability. Governments around the world thus rely on superiors’ subjective evaluations for assessing subordinates’ performances. However, subjective evaluation often distorts the incentive structure and leads to favoritism and influence activities. Using a large-scale field experiment, we show that introducing uncertainty in who evaluates state employees’ performances reduces influence activities and improves work performance. In contrast, encouraging superiors to provide mid-term feedbacks to subordinates do not have any detectable impacts on subordinates’ performances.



Guojun He is Assistant Professor appointed jointly at the Division of Social Science, Division of Environment and Sustainability, and Department of Economics at HKUST. He is also Faculty Associate of HKUST IEMS and Institute for Public Policy. Prof He holds a concurrent appointment at the University of Chicago’s interdisciplinary Energy Policy Institute (2018-now) and serves as the research director of its China center (EPIC-China). In 2018, Prof He was selected as a fellow of the World Economic Forum Young Scientists Community.

​Before joining HKUST, Prof He was a post-doctoral research fellow at Harvard School of Public Health(2013–2014) and obtained his Ph.D. degree in Agricultural and Resource Economics from U.C. Berkeley (2008–2013). He received his undergraduate education from School of Economics at Peking University (2004–2008).

Prof Guojun He
Division of Social Science, HKUST
November 15, 2018 (Thursday)
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
IAS 4042, Lo Ka Chung Building, Lee Shau Kee Campus, HKUST