Program Budgeting and the Performance Movement

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176 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781589017771 (1589017773)

ISBN: 9781589017917

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October 2011
LC: 2011003840

Public Management and Change series


Table of Contents

Program Budgeting and the Performance Movement
The Elusive Quest for Efficiency in Government
William F. West

Formal systems of comprehensive planning and performance-based management have a long if disappointing history in American government. This is illustrated most dramatically by the failure of program budgeting (PPB) in the 1960s and resurrection of that management technique in a handful of agencies over the past decade. Beyond its present application, the significance of PPB lies in its relationship to the goals and assumptions of popular reforms associated with the performance movement.

Program Budgeting and the Performance Movement examines PPB from its inception in the Department of Defense under Robert McNamara to its limited resurgence in recent years. It includes an in-depth case study of the adoption and effects of PPB at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The fact that program budgeting is subject to the same limitations today that led to its demise four decades ago speaks to the viability of requirements, such as those imposed by the Government Performance and Results Act, that are designed to make government more businesslike in its operations.

William F. West is a professor and Sara Lindsey Chair in the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.

Beryl A. Radin, Series Editor
"William West has advanced our field by providing a sober assessment of the record of program and performance budgeting in federal agencies. The history of these initiatives reminds us about the unrealistic premises and promises of the performance movement and also of the substantial administrative challenges that give rise to our perennial search for reforms."—Paul L. Posner, professor of public administration, George Mason University

"The idea of results-based government has never been more popular, and the need for good research never greater. Professor West offers a grounded and thoughtful analysis of the life, death, and surprising rebirth of program budgeting. A remarkable understanding of administrative history and research into contemporary reforms combines to generate a deeply insightful account of the politics and practice of the performance movement."—Donald Moynihan, professor, La Follette School of Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"Proponents of results-oriented management in the U.S. pride themselves on bringing hard-headed analysis and rationality to the 'business' of government. Arguing that strategic planning, the New Public Management, and managing for results are the latest iterations of the 'rationality project' informing the failed PPB movement in the 1960s, West applies the same standards to a recent resurgence of PPBs in federal agencies. His deftly woven tale of similarly disappointing results offers what will become a widely cited 'business' case for abandoning reformers' infatuation with one-size-fits-all rationality projects in the American Madisonian system."—Robert Durant, professor of public administration and policy, American University

"William West has written a richly informed and carefully argued description of the history of planning and program budgeting in federal agencies and a brilliant analysis of why it survives in the absence of evidence that it works."—George Frederickson, Edwin O. Stene Distinguished Professor of Public Administration, University of Kansas

"Both scholars and advocates of public sector reforms often act as if every attempt to change government is novel. This book demonstrates very effectively that reforms, especially those searching for efficiency, have a long lineage. This book is crucial for understanding not only the particular reforms studied but also for understanding public sector reform in general."—B. Guy Peters, Maurice Falk Professor of Government, University of Pittsburgh

Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Lessons Not Learned

2. A Brief History of Planning, Programming, Budgeting Systems

3. The Survival and Evolution of Program Budgeting at Department of Defense

4. NOAA's Adoption of PPB and Matrix Management

5. Evaluating NOAA's Management Initiatives

6. PPB and the Holy Grail of Performance Management

7. Administrative Doctrine and Administrative Reality