The Performance of Performance Standards

60 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2002 Last revised: 27 Oct 2010

See all articles by James J. Heckman

James J. Heckman

University of Chicago - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); American Bar Foundation; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Carolyn Heinrich

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Public Policy

Jeffrey A. Smith

University of Wisconsin - Madison; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2002

Abstract

This paper examines the performance of the JTPA performance system, a widely emulated model for inducing efficiency in government organizations. We present a model of how performance incentives may distort bureaucratic decisions. We define cream skimming within the model. Two major empirical findings are (a) that the short run measures used to monitor performance are weakly, and sometimes perversely, related to long run impacts and (b) that the efficiency gains or losses from cream skimming are small. We find evidence that centers respond to performance standards.

Suggested Citation

Heckman, James J. and Heinrich, Carolyn and Smith, Jeffrey Andrew, The Performance of Performance Standards (June 2002). NBER Working Paper No. w9002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=315999

James J. Heckman (Contact Author)

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Carolyn Heinrich

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Public Policy ( email )

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Jeffrey Andrew Smith

University of Wisconsin - Madison

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Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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