How to measure public administration performance: a conceptual model with applications for budgeting, human resources management, and open government


The economic crisis provides some insights on the role of measurement systems. As shown by the ongoing discussion of credit rating agencies by political actors and in the news media, measurement is not a neutral device, but an active agent in societal processes. Comparative measurements of international public administration are as frail, technocratic, and overly aggregated as bond ratings, but nonetheless are increasingly used by journalists, aid organizations, foreign investors, and, indeed, rating agencies to hold governments accountable. Better measurement is needed in public administration performance. This article builds on study reports from the OECDs Government at a Glance project to address the issue of how to measure public administration performance. The fields of budgeting, human resources management, and open government illustrate both the potential and the challenge of such measurements.

In Public performance and management review