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
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, H10Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: November 25, 2008 ; Last revised: January 22, 2009
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