Measuring the Performance of Governments

Posted: 2 May 2013

See all articles by Ronald Tammen

Ronald Tammen

Portland State University

Jacek Kugler

Claremont Graduate University

Date Written: 2012


Abstract Measuring the Political Performance of Governments The comparative and IPE fields often highlight the linkage between politics and the economy. But while most economic phenomena can be measured, politics is far more subjective. This presentation will argue that, with a new tool, political and economic behavior both can be measured with equivalent levels of reliability. We make this claim by introducing a new concept and associated database called Political Performance. Political Performance is the ability of governments to (1) reach their population, (2) extract economic resources from that population and (3) efficiently allocate those resources to meet government objectives. Unlike other political measures, Political Performance does not reflect wealth (GDP), types of governments (democracies or authoritarian), or political values (quality of life indices). In contrast, political performance measures success in achieving government defined policy outcomes. Political performance emulates in the political and institutional arena what GDP approximates in the economic field. Just as a rising GDP per capita indicates financial success, political performance reflects policy success. This new Political Performance concept is particularly useful in isolating specific geographic opportunities for FDI as well as for foreign aid and national investment. Similarly it is a useful tool for anticipating subnational regions of conflict and economic distress.

Suggested Citation

Tammen, Ronald and Kugler, Jacek, Measuring the Performance of Governments (2012). EPSA 2013 Annual General Conference Paper 753, Available at SSRN:

Ronald Tammen (Contact Author)

Portland State University ( email )

Jacek Kugler

Claremont Graduate University ( email )

Claremont, CA 91711
United States

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