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Public Management Institute The use of indicators on output in management and policy applications Dr. Wouter Van Dooren University of Leuven, Belgium London.

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Presentation on theme: "Public Management Institute The use of indicators on output in management and policy applications Dr. Wouter Van Dooren University of Leuven, Belgium London."— Presentation transcript:

1 Public Management Institute The use of indicators on output in management and policy applications Dr. Wouter Van Dooren University of Leuven, Belgium London

2 2 What’s the issue? A Public Administration perspective on measurement Quality of Measurement per se is important, but the key question is whether the data are used, by whom, why, why not and with what effect?

3 3 What’s the issue? Supply and demand of information Examples 1.Marginal: green accounting? aren’t we missing something? 2.Frustrated supply; social indicator movement, official statistics? 3.Frustrated demand; objective performance of governance 4.Intense measurement; employment statistics

4 4 What’s the issue? The institutional context in which information is embedded, should be taken into account. New Public Management doctrine (1980s and 1990s)  more measurement  more use  more effects, both positive and negative

5 5 What’s the issue? THE NPM triangle

6 6 What’s the issue? In between, output and outcome

7 7 Issues in output measurement design Issue 1: Output as a Transaction or Output as a Provision? -> Economic notion: output is counted when the transaction is complete, i.e. when the output is consumed. Ex. Number of pupils, prisoners. -> Public Administration; output as products or services that come out of the production process. Ex. Number of hours taught. Why is this important? ; which indicator would you put in a performance contract?

8 8 Issues in output measurement design Issue 2: Easy to measure vs. hard to measure Issue 3: Individual vs. collective Functional classification Collective (public goods) Individual (merit goods) MeasurabilityLow High National defence Job counselling Road construction Vehicle registration

9 9 Why is this important? Eurostat directions make direct output measurement compulsory for individual services, and recommended for collective ones. BUT the examples show that the distinction individual/collective is not the same as measurable/not measurable Issues in output measurement design Issue 2: Easy to measure vs. hard to measure Issue 3: Individual vs. collective

10 10 Issue 4; simple versus aggregate  How to aggregate and to weigh indicators?  Weights are seldom politically neutral, they reflect policy choices. Issues in output measurement design Why is this important? Challenge for uniform international measurement standards, such as for calculating GDP

11 11 Some useful measures  Useful measures are measures that allow for policy learning. Three examples from the report of the Dutch Social and Cultural Planning Office: Public Sector Performance, an international comparison. (downloadable from

12 12 Some useful measures Cost effectiveness education (note, outcome measure)

13 13 Some useful measures Convicts versus personnel (labour productivity)

14 14 Some useful measures Cost effectiveness health care

15 15 Background document OECD project on Management in Government: Comparative Country Data Issues in Output Measurement for "Government at a Glance“ OECD GOV Technical Paper 2 (Second Draft) Wouter Van Dooren (University of Leuven), Jana Malinska (OECD), Nick Manning (OECD), Miekatrien Sterck (University of Leuven), Dirk-Jan Kraan (OECD), Geert Bouckaert (University of Leuven)


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