A Conceptual Framework for Performance Measurement Development in an Intergovernmental Setting: The Case of Intergovernmental Systems in the USA and Italy
Eric A. Scorsone
Michigan State University - Department of Agricultural Economics
University of Bologna - Department of Management
May 26, 2008
Throughout all levels of government, performance measurement remains an important topic among professional managers and elected officials. The evolution of performance measurement in many cases is driven by professional standard setting bodies, research institutes and occupational associations as much as by state government legislative bodies or governors. At the same time, state and national agencies act as oversight bodies or pass through conduits for sending resources to local government agencies that carry out service delivery functions. This is certainly true in the case of medical care, education and public safety in many countries. The performance of government services in these settings represent a particularly challenging environment from which to assess. The development of and quantification of performance measures in an intergovernmental setting remains an open area for research and examination. In such a setting, the conflicts between principals and agents becomes an important component in the process and potential conflicts over determining the types of performance measures to be used and the process of setting numbers to such measures. Those issues can be considered as being components of the so-called Whole-of-Govenrment (WoG) approach, that is the next generation of the New Public Management. Under the WoG perspective, the public administration is studied and managed under a more holistic strategy, where the focus is not on each single organization, but on the entire network of these organizations and on the integration among them (Bogdanor, 2005; Hood, 2005; Christensen and Lægreid, 2007).
This paper seeks to identify the conceptual challenges in measuring and quantify performance in an intergovernmental system. It is believed that such a conceptual framework will guide future empirical research into questions that address the performance of services in an intergovernmental context as well as empirical research into the impact of performance measures in an intergovernmental setting.
Two cases studies, one from Italy and the other form the United States, will serve to motivate the framework. In the area of court administration, the US National Center for the State Courts has created a new set of performance management tools called CourTools. The State of Michigan is one of the several states in the United States that is seeking to implement such a system. Michigan will serve as a motivating case study behind the development of the conceptual framework. There are several conceptual challenges in designing and compiling data related to the underlying CourTool measures. For the Italian case, the annual quality-of-life ranking of the 107 Italian territorial provinces published in December each year by Il Sole 24 Ore, the leading national business newspaper, will be analyzed. With its about 40 indicators, it is considered as one of the most important disclosure or, say, moment of truth for local elected officials belonging to the several local government operating at the provincial level. But, after more than twenty years since its first edition, criticism about the way performance indicators are chosen - and changed over time - still remains.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 31
Keywords: performance measurement, intergovernmental relationships, public sector
JEL Classification: H70, H77
Date posted: May 28, 2008