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Zahra Mansoor

Welcome – I am a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Public Policy at the School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol. 


I work in close collaboration with governments in low- and middle-income countries across South Asia and Africa to answer research questions pertaining to service delivery, policy implementation, civil service reform, and evidence-based decision making. My research has a sectoral focus on education, and (more recently) gender. My research has been funded by the International Growth Center (IGC), Economic Development Institutions (EDI), World Bank, and the University of Oxford.

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Research Interests

I answer research questions that are important academic puzzles but also equally important to policymakers such as: how can public sector organisations improve the performance of bureaucrats through financial and non-financial incentives? How can we better understand the impact of system-level governance reforms on policy implementation? How can we employ the tools and principals of behavioural science and economics to strengthen evidence-based decision making and inclusive governance in low-and middle-income countries?


I use experimental and quasi experimental methods to answer my questions of interest, while drawing on data from large-scale surveys and administrative data.


My DPhil research explored the role of financial and non-financial incentives in improving frontline staff performance in collaboration with the Education and Agriculture department in Punjab, Pakistan:


 “Making Recognition Rewards Count: A Field Experiment on Recognition Rewards for Public School Teachers” (new version coming soon)


“Rules versus Discretion: Experimental Evidence on Incentives for Public Extension Staff" (with Garance Genicot and Ghazala Mansuri) (new version coming soon)

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