Productivity is essentially the ratio of an organization's outputs divided by its inputs. For many years it was treated as always being static in government agencies. In fact productivity in government services should be rising rapidly as a result of digital changes and new management approaches, and it has done so in some agencies. However, Dunleavy and Carrera show for the first time how complex are the factors affecting productivity growth in government organizations - especially management practices, use of IT, organizational culture, strategic mis-decisions and political and policy churn. With government budgets under stress in many countries, this pioneering book shows academics, analysts and officials how to measure outputs and productivity in detail; how to cope with problems of quality variations; and how to achieve year-on-year, sustainable improvements in the efficiency of government services.
'Carrera and Dunleavy provide a crystal clear and comprehensive account of the complex issues involved in how best to improve the productivity of government services. They offer a nuanced but powerful explanation of productivity puzzles, conundrums and dilemmas in the public sector. But they also offer solutions to many of these problems. Finally, I have found a text on public economics that makes sense, gives genuine management insights and offers real suggestions to practitioners as to what to do next.' - Barry Quirk, Chief Executive, London Borough of Lewisham, UK 'This book presents a welcome and sobering analysis of productivity performance in UK central government - a subject that has received remarkably little serious academic attention up to now, in spite of decades of general commentary on managerialism.' - Christopher Hood, All Souls College, UK 'Leandro Carrera and Patrick Dunleavy have performed an amazing feat in this book through their rigorous examination of a thorny topic that has dogged pundits and academics alike. Just how efficient is government and how well does it do its job? As a result of an impressive - but accessible - set of data analyses, the authors make an authoritative attack on the proponents of the New Public Management, and offer some clear recommendations for reform based on better use of new technology.' - Peter John, University College London, UK
Contents: Preface 1. Why has Government Productivity been so Neglected in Economics and Public Administration? Part I: Nationally Provided Government Services 2. Studying the Productivity of Unique Agencies 3. Rapid Productivity Growth - Customs Regulation 4. Growing Productivity Gradually - Tax Services 5. How Productivity can Remain Little Changed Despite Major Investments - Social Security 6. Broadening the Picture - Two Regulatory Agencies Part II: Decentralized Government Services 7. Methods and Quality Issues in Analysing Complex and Localized Services 8. Hospital Productivity in England's National Health Service Part III: Sustainable Increases in Productivity 9. Embracing Digital Change and Enhancing Organizational Learning 10. Pushing through to Productivity Advances Annex I: Research Methods Bibliography