Government Checking Government: How Performance Measures Expand Distributive Politics

29 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2009

See all articles by Anthony M. Bertelli

Anthony M. Bertelli

New York University - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service; Bocconi University - DONDENA - Carlo F. Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics

Peter John

Department of Political Economy, KCL; University College London - School of Public Policy

Date Written: July 30, 2009

Abstract

This paper argues that distributive politics operates in a variety of contexts in which governments seek to check the behavior of other governments. We provide a novel theoretical account of performance measurement systems as political discipline mechanisms even when measures are compiled by formally independent administrative agencies. We test the implications of our theory using a dataset of performance ratings in English local government assessed between 2002-2006. Results suggest that political influence favors swing voters, and local authorities sharing party affiliation with the incumbent central government are favored over those controlled by the opposition. Evidence further suggests that the independent rater in our empirical case is influenced through ties between its membership and the local authorities that it regulates. Our theoretical argument and findings have implications for many national and international contexts.

Keywords: Performance Measurement, Distributive Politics, Independent Agencies, British Politics

JEL Classification: H77, D73

Suggested Citation

Bertelli, Anthony M. and John, Peter, Government Checking Government: How Performance Measures Expand Distributive Politics (July 30, 2009). CELS 2009 4th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1441668 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1441668

Anthony M. Bertelli (Contact Author)

New York University - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service ( email )

The Puck Building
295 Lafayette Street, Second Floor
New York, NY 10012
United States

Bocconi University - DONDENA - Carlo F. Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

Peter John

Department of Political Economy, KCL ( email )

Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

University College London - School of Public Policy ( email )

29/30 Tavistock Square
London, WC1H 9QU
United Kingdom

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