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Dear Sylvester,

Thank you for this very interesting comment.

In response to your requests for clarifications, performance does seem one route for success in many of the services we’ve studied.  However, one frustration we’ve heard is that even though processes are meritocratic, promotion or wage increase freezes delay the possibility of these processes being applied.  In the ‘hustler’ route to success, it seems that officials are moving departments or organisations, and though they stick with the same designation, they undertake whatever work serves them best in the new position.  Interesting that ‘hustlers’ in Kenya use a change in designation to move ahead.

As we try to develop the ‘next generation’ of civil servants surveys, you make a number of excellent suggestions for our work: i) Gaining a better measure of the bureaucratic environment (or what you call ‘texture’) across settings would be key to our interpretation of the other information we collect; ii) assessing the difference in this environment across senior, middle, and junior members of the public administration; and, iii) learning better how we take the lessons from these surveys to feasible packages of reform.

I’ll search for your PhD now and flag your comments to the Kenya team at the Bank who have also highlighted potential interest in a survey in Kenya.  We will get in touch as soon as that becomes a real possibility.

Very best wishes, and thank you again for your comment,