Sector Bias and the Credibility of Performance Information: An Experimental Study of Elder Care Provision
55 Pages Posted: 29 May 2020
Date Written: May 29, 2020
Reporting government performance to the public is generally understood as a tool for improving accountability and transparency. However, evidence has shown that citizens’ anti public sector bias may discount good performance of public organizations. Using an experimental study of nursing homes in the US, this study fills four gaps in the literature: 1) the need to include nonprofit organizations rather than just public and private organizations, 2) consideration of the credibility of the source of performance information, 3) the use of existing less ambiguous performance metrics, and 4) the willingness to use organizational services as a performance dimension. Our results show that the public has a general but modest anti-for-profit sector bias in nursing home care (nonprofits are perceived the most positively). Sector biases generally disappear when commonly used government performance data are presented. Also, the credibility of the source matters, and respondents’ willingness to use organizational services is more sensitive to both sector bias and performance information than other performance measures such as effectiveness, efficiency, red tape or equity. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of this study for democratic accountability.
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