PREM Notes

176 items available

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This note series is intended to summarize good practices and key policy findings on poverty reduction and economic management (PREM) topics.

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  • Publication
    Salary Bonuses in Revenue Departments : Do They Work?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2004-01) De Wulf, Luc
    Compensation provides a major incentive for workers to perform well. Accordingly, bonus payments are often used to enhance staff effectiveness and efficiency-and have become increasingly common in revenue departments around the world. A recent World Bank study analyzed the bonus systems applied by revenue authorities in seven countries, and was complemented by questionnaires completed by tax and customs administrations in seven others. Though the sample was small, the study generated interesting findings and points to areas requiring further analysis. The countries analyzed indicate that bonus systems are fraught with danger and so must be designed with the utmost care. There is no evidence that bonuses automatically increase the effectiveness of revenue departments. And because staff performance is influenced by factors other than salaries and bonuses, it is not easy to determine the effects of such systems. This note reviews reasons for introducing bonus systems and discusses a number of crucial design features, particularly the importance of effective and transparent performance appraisal systems based on clear performance measures.
  • Publication
    Reforming Tax Systems : Lessons from the 1990s
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2000-04) De Wulf, Luc
    World Bank-supported efforts to reform public institutions--including tax and customs administration--increasingly rely on institutional analysis. But there are no formal, generally accepted guidelines for analyzing tax systems. As a result the Bank's task managers and team leaders conduct these analyses in very different ways. The paper on which this Note is based reviewed 83 Bank-financed tax and customs reform operations in the 1990s to assess whether current approaches fall within the bounds of institutional analysis and add up to a consistent methodology. The review compiled Bank projects that supported tax administration reform, compared their diagnostic work to an emerging diagnostic model, and assessed their focus and their results.