How does public management affect government performance? Findings from international research

Forbes, M.; Lynn, L. E.
October 2005
Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory;10/1/2005, Vol. 15 Issue 4, p559
Academic Journal
Despite the growing importance of public management reform around the world, relatively little scholarship evaluates the contributions of public management to government performance, that is, to the character and consequences of service provision by public agencies. One study (Hill and Lynn 2005) evaluated over eight hundred American empirical studies that address issues of public management effectiveness in a wide variety of fields, subfields, and disciplines. In this article, we employ the analytic framework of Hill and Lynn a polycentric "logic of governance"-to evaluate 193 research articles published in English that use non-American, or what we will term international, empirical evidence. Our evaluation reveals more similarities in American and non-American public management research, and in the determinants of government performance, than one might expect, given the distinctiveness of the American politico-administrative system. These similarities may be deceptive, however. International investigators exhibit somewhat different modeling strategies, tending, for example, to favor more linear managerialist hypotheses changes in structure lead to changes in outcomes, for example than American research, which is more concerned with intragovernmental complexities. The fact that the use of a polycentric logic of governance revealed highly suggestive similarities and differences in the determinants of performance in public organizations suggests the potential value of this kind of analytic strategy in both single investigations and in meta-analyses of public management reform.


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