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Publishing Performance Information: An Illusion of Control?


Steven Van de Walle


Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Public Administration

Alasdair S. Roberts


Suffolk University Law School


PERFORMANCE INFORMATION IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR: HOW IT IS USED, Van Dooren, W., Van de Walle, S., eds., pp. 211-226, Houndmills: Palgrave, 2008
Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 09-06

Abstract:     
The growth of rating and ranking systems is one of the dominant trends in contemporary public services reform. They are recent innovations in governance, and often highly controversial. There is active debate about the meaningfulness of the data made available to the public, and about the effect that publication of data has on the internal operations of organizations, as well as the behavior of citizens, administrators and politicans. Rankings are not merely technical innovations, designed with the expectation that they may improve the quality of public services. The popularity of such schemes is also explained, in large part, as a response to growing anxiety about the loss of control over an increasingly complex and turbulent world. It is unclear, however, whether any such scheme could fulfill this larger goal. Rating and ranking schemes may serve only to provide the illusion of control.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 24

Keywords: performance information, public services, ranking

JEL Classification: D73. D7. D8. H4, L32, I19, H10

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Date posted: November 25, 2008 ; Last revised: January 22, 2009

Suggested Citation

Van de Walle, Steven and Roberts, Alasdair S., Publishing Performance Information: An Illusion of Control?. PERFORMANCE INFORMATION IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR: HOW IT IS USED, Van Dooren, W., Van de Walle, S., eds., pp. 211-226, Houndmills: Palgrave, 2008; Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 09-06. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1307007

Contact Information

Steven Van de Walle (Contact Author)
Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Public Administration ( email )
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
0031 10 408 2518 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.stevenvandewalle.eu
Alasdair S. Roberts
Suffolk University Law School ( email )
120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108-4977
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.aroberts.us

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