Accepted paper:

The composition, evolution and logic of the public wage system in the DRC: A view from Kinshasa's central administration


Stylianos Moshonas (University of Antwerp)
Tom De Herdt (University of Antwerp)
Kristof Titeca (University of Antwerp)

Paper short abstract:

African payroll systems have remained black boxes, even though their implications for public policy are far reaching; this paper draws on original data from the DRC to explore the composition and drivers of a widely differentiated system across and within institutions

Paper long abstract:

The issue of civil service pay in African administrations typically receives limited attention - aside passing recognition that generally low wages are complemented by a variety of supplements, bonuses, or allowances which usually dwarf the base salary, and that these supplements may conceal huge disparities between sectors or occupational categories. In many respects, the sensitive issue of remuneration has meant that payroll systems have remained black boxes, even though their implications for public policy (and service delivery) are far-reaching. This paper, drawing on original empirical data from DRC's central-level ministerial administrations, presents an overview of the human resource and remuneration configurations across a set of institutions. It begins by outlining the composition of civil servants' remunerations - differentiating between base salary, salary supplements (primes permanentes) and ad hoc task-based supplements (primes non-permanentes) - as well as presenting an overview of how this payroll structure came about. The paper details the substantial discrepancies that exist across institutions (for example, with the ministries of budget and finance well-endowed with salary supplements, in comparison to others) but also within those, across particular departments. This allows to present an overview of the everyday governance of a public service at the core of the state - the public wage system - while remaining attentive to the drivers and factors which that have underpinned this unequal resource distribution across services and over time.

panel Econ31
Continuity and disruption in public service provision