International Comparisons of Public Sector Performance: How to Move Ahead?

Public Management Review, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 39-56, 2009

26 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2008 Last revised: 20 May 2009

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

Date Written: November 26, 2008

Abstract

Measuring and comparing the overall performance of countries' public sectors requires agreement on definitions and objectives of government. I argue that such an agreement is about finding a consensus rather about finding better definitions. Measuring government requires a number of leaps of faith, where certain definitions, assumptions and statistics are accepted as good enough for measurement and comparison. The political science and economic research community have a different tradition of dealing with such agreements and leaps of faith, and this is reflected in their approaches to measuring and comparing the performance of public sectors. The implications of these traditions are particularly visible in the usefulness of measurement and indicators for policy makers.

Keywords: Performance measurement, size of government, philosophy of science, public sector statistics

JEL Classification: D73

Suggested Citation

Van de Walle, Steven, International Comparisons of Public Sector Performance: How to Move Ahead? (November 26, 2008). Public Management Review, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 39-56, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1307667

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

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