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The Performance of Performance Standards

James J. Heckman, et al., Editors

Publication Year: 2011

Led by Nobel laureate James J. Heckman, the authors draw on a variety of superior data sources to explore how performance standards and incentives influence the behavior of public managers and agency employees, their approaches to service delivery, and ultimately, the outcomes for participants in U.S. employment and training programs.

Published by: W.E. Upjohn Institute

Title page

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Copyright/LOC page

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pp. v-vi

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1 - Performance Standards and the Potential to Improve Government Performance

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pp. 1-14

A number of recently implemented reforms to public sector incentive systems have sought to reorient them toward a focus on measuring results and inducing public agencies to become more efficient, responsive, and accountable to the public. They share at least two features. ...

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2 - U.S. Employment and Training Programs and Performance Standards System Design

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pp. 15-28

Prior to the recession that began in 2007, public expenditures on employment and training services were declining. For example, in fiscal year 2007, the total U.S. federal government appropriations for WIA programs—youth employment, adult job training, dislocated worker assistance, Job Corps, and other national activities ...

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3 - A Formal Model of a Performance Incentive System

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pp. 29-64

This chapter presents a model of training center behavior in an environment that includes a generic performance management system for active labor market programs (ALMPs), such as those funded under JTPA and WIA in the United States. The model builds on the work of Heckman, Heinrich, and Smith (2002) ...

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4 - The JTPA Incentive System: Implementing Performance Measurement and Funding

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pp. 65-94

This chapter outlines the specifics of JTPA’s performance incentives, which provide necessary background information for subsequent chapters in this monograph. It also speaks generally to the challenges that must be met in formulating performance measures and incentives anywhere in government.1 ...

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5 - Setting the Standards: Performance Targets and Benchmarks

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pp. 95-124

A key element in the design of performance measurement and accountability systems is the establishment of appropriate benchmark levels (or standards) of performance to guide the evaluation of program outcomes. Performance benchmarks shape system incentives and influence the responses of public managers ...

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6 - Do the Determinants of Program Participation Data Provide Evidence of Cream Skimming?

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pp. 125-202

This chapter considers the extent to which detailed data on the process of participation in a social program can provide researchers and policymakers with meaningful evidence on the nature and extent of cream skimming caused by a performance-management system. We illustrate our discussion with ...

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7 - Measuring Government Performance: An Overview of Dysfunctional Responses

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pp. 203-230

Explicit performance measurement systems may elicit unintended and dysfunctional responses, also known as gaming responses. Understanding when such responses take place, their extent and their nature, is essential for improving the design of measurement systems and the overall effectiveness of performance incentives. ...

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8 - Local Responses to Performance Incentives and Implications for Program Outcomes

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pp. 231-272

In his classic piece on “street-level” bureaucracy, Lipsky (1980) describes the critical position occupied by public employees engaged in social service delivery. These employees, he argues, constitute the scope and function of government services, and the individual decisions of these workers become agency policy. ...

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9 - Do Short-Run Performance Measures Predict Long-Run Impacts?

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pp. 273-304

This chapter culminates the analysis in this volume by examining two closely related questions.1 The first of these is posed in the title: Do performance measures based on short-run outcomes predict long-run program impacts? If they do, then performance management systems like those in JTPA and WIA ...

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10 - Lessons for Advancing Future Performance Standards Systems

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pp. 305-310

The economic recession that started in 2007 led to renewed interest in public employment and training services. At the same time, the accompanying financial crises also elevated concern for how dwindling government budgets could be spent more efficiently and effectively to maximize returns to public investments in training. ...

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pp. 311-314

Pascal Courty is a research fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research. In 2009 he joined the University of Victoria from the European University Institute, where he was a professor of economics. He was previously associate professor at the London Business School, and assistant professor at University Pompeu Fabra. ...


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pp. 315-328

About the Institute

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pp. 329

E-ISBN-13: 9780880993982
E-ISBN-10: 0880993987
Print-ISBN-13: 9780880992923
Print-ISBN-10: 0880992921

Page Count: 329
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: First