PBB in American Local Governments: It’s More than a Management Tool

Source: Alfred Tat-Kei Ho, Public Administration Review, Volume 71, Issue 3, May/June 2011
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From the abstract:
Despite academic findings that performance information seldom is used in appropriations decisions, many professional organizations and governments continue to press for integrating performance information into local public management, planning, and budgeting processes. Is it possible to reconcile such inconsistencies? Looking beyond the executive-legislative relationship and departmental appropriations, the author examines the budget implications of applying performance information at the subdepartmental program level. Case analysis of Indianapolis’s IndyStat initiative underscores that performance measurement application is positively related to intradepartmental program budget changes. Hence, performance-based budgeting (PBB) can improve local budgeting despite severe political constraints. Still, successful use of PBB requires strong executive leadership, and its effects remain less visible at the departmental level or within the wider political arena of legislative bargaining. The author concludes by recommending some rethinking of the current analytical focus of PBB both in future research as well as recommended practice.

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