Year of Publication

2007

College

Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Executive Summary

In recent years, an increase in government accountability has come about in American society. The debate began about the consumer business model of government, with citizens demanding results, not just output, because most people viewed government as inefficient and ineffective. As a response, Vice President Gore National Performance Review endorsed the Government Performance and Results Act (1993) which required federal agencies to have “objective, quantifiable and measurable” goals into the federal government budget process (Kravchuk and Schack, 1996, p.348).

This, in turn, led the way to the Government Performance Project (GPP), a study orchestrated by the Governing magazine, in cooperation with several universities and journalists. Researchers formulated a set of criteria to evaluate state governments on performance and, more specifically, quality of management. States would have a comprehensive peer comparison which the researchers felt would help managers improve management, which in turn would lead to better results.

While the measurement of government performance appears to be a relatively recent phenomenon, in fact, a literature review reveals it has some old roots. In the early twentieth century, the New York Bureau of Municipal Research collected data in an attempt to promote the measurement of government performance (Williams, 2003, p.2). From there, subsets of variables which potentially affect government performance have been examined by a host of researchers. These variables include social capital, political affiliations, budget priorities, size of government, and management.

Due to the growing interest in performance measurement use, I have examined how the GPP may be influenced by per capita expenditures. I have expanded on a 2002 study performed by Steve Knack of the World Bank. More specifically, does a state that spends more have a higher quality management, thus producing a higher grade? I have used independent variables from other studies as controls.

For my analysis, I have used both GPP data and U.S. Census Bureau financial and demographic information to estimate a model relating the GPP measures of state government management quality to the characteristics of the state. Most importantly, I examined the effect of state expenditures in a number of alternative government functions on quality of management and found no correlation between expenditures and these performance measures. However, control variables, such as political affiliations of state population, and demographic information do relate to the grades.

Conclusions can be formed that expenditures and financial data were statistically significantly weakly related to the Government Performance Project grade. A more substantial implication of this study is that state can be in deficit in many socioeconomic and financial areas and yet still function at a high level of management performance.

This, in turn, led the way to the Government Performance Project (GPP), a study orchestrated by the Governing magazine, in cooperation with several universities and journalists. Researchers formulated a set of criteria to evaluate state governments on performance and, more specifically, quality of management. States would have a comprehensive peer comparison which the researchers felt would help managers improve management, which in turn would lead to better results.

Share

COinS