U4 Brief | Basic service sectorsDevelopment cooperation

The challenge of per diem misuse: Training and travel as extra pay

By Tina Søreide, Ingvild Aagedal Skage and Arne Tostensen
Bergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Brief 2016:8) 4 p

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A combination of low wages and perverse incentives motivate civil servants to supplement their income with per diem payments connected to participation in seminars and workshops. The abuse of travel and training- related payments results in excessive expenditures and in a distortion of incentives that can frustrate development efforts. Three main factors contribute to facilitating this type of practice: insufficient controls, management (dis)incentives, and donors’ role and attitudes. Strengthening controls alone is unlikely to curb this kind of abuse, the culture of “per diem hunting” needs to be changed as part of a broader reform of the civil service. Coordination among development partners can also contribute to preventing per diem abuse.

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