Caught in an Evaluatory Trap: A Dilemma for Public Services Under Npfm

Posted: 4 Dec 2001

See all articles by Olov Olson

Olov Olson

Göteborg University - School of Business, Economics and Law

Christopher Humphrey

University of Sheffield - School of Management

James Guthrie

Macquarie University - Department of Accounting and Finance; University Of Bologna - Department of Management; Macquarie University, Macquarie Business School

Abstract

This paper presents a challenge to public sector managers, policy makers and interested academics. Drawing on the findings of previous international comparative studies of New Public Financial Management (NPFM) reforms, it concludes that public services and their providers are caught in an 'evaluatory trap'. The continual promotion of NPFM reforms, despite their evident repeated failure to meet specified achievements, is argued to be generating a cycle of ever-decreasing public services at ever-increasing costs per service unit. As the legitimacy of public services increasingly rests on the need to be seen as efficient and effective and as definitions of efficiency frequently demand adoption of the latest set of NPFM reforms, it follows that the future for public services is in question.

Keywords: Financial management; Accountability; Responsibility; Performance measurement; Cost-effectiveness; Democracy

JEL Classification: M40, M41, M49, L32

Suggested Citation

Olson, Olov and Humphrey, Christopher and Guthrie, James, Caught in an Evaluatory Trap: A Dilemma for Public Services Under Npfm. European Accounting Review, Vol. 10, No. 3, 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=285325

Olov Olson

Göteborg University - School of Business, Economics and Law ( email )

Box 605
SE 405 30 Goeteborg
Sweden

Christopher Humphrey (Contact Author)

University of Sheffield - School of Management ( email )

9 Mappin Street
Sheffield, S1 4DT
United Kingdom
0114 222 3427 (Phone)

James Guthrie

Macquarie University - Department of Accounting and Finance ( email )

Sydney - NSW, 2109
Australia

University Of Bologna - Department of Management ( email )

P.Le Vittoria 15
Forli', 47121
Italy
+39-0543-374-621 (Phone)

Macquarie University, Macquarie Business School ( email )

New South Wales 2109
Australia

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