What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Performance? Dialogue Theory and Performance Budgeting

La Follette School Working Paper No. 2005-021

35 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2005

See all articles by Donald P. Moynihan

Donald P. Moynihan

Georgetown University - McCourt School of Public Policy

Date Written: September 2005

Abstract

This paper examines the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) in the federal budgeting process. The early evidence on PART prompts the search for a theory of budgeting that accepts that performance information will influence decisions, but will not be used in the same way from decision to decision, as the espoused theory of performance budgeting suggests. Dialogue theory emphasizes the ambiguity of performance information and related resource allocation choices. An exploratory test of dialogue theory is undertaken through an experiment involving graduate students assessing PART evaluations. The results illustrate a variety of ways in which different individuals can examine the same program and, using logical warrants, come to different conclusions about performance and future funding requirements.

Keywords: budgeting, performance, dialogue, reform

JEL Classification: H60, H61

Suggested Citation

Moynihan, Donald P., What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Performance? Dialogue Theory and Performance Budgeting (September 2005). La Follette School Working Paper No. 2005-021, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=817284 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.817284

Donald P. Moynihan (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - McCourt School of Public Policy ( email )

Old North, Suite 100
37th & O Streets NW
Washington, DC 20057
United States

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