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

23 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2008 Last revised: 6 Jul 2015

See all articles by Steven Van de Walle

Steven Van de Walle

KU Leuven - Department of Political Science; Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Public Administration

Alasdair S. Roberts

University of Massachusetts Amherst - School of Public Policy

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.

Keywords: performance information, public services, ranking

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

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. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1307007

Steven Van de Walle (Contact Author)

KU Leuven - Department of Political Science ( email )

Public Management Institute
Van Evenstraat 2A
B-3000 Leuven
Belgium
+32 16 323614 (Phone)
+32 16 323611 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.publicmanagementinstitute.be

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

University of Massachusetts Amherst - School of Public Policy ( email )

Thompson Hall
Amherst, MA 01003
United States
6175999029 (Phone)

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