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Measuring Government Activity

image of Measuring Government Activity

The size and the economic significance of the public sector make it a major contributor to economic growth and social welfare. The goods and services government provides, its redistributive and regulatory powers, and how those are exercised affect the way business is conducted and people live their lives in every country. Citizens are entitled to understand how government works and how public revenues are used. This book provides a significant contribution to developing a coherent, reliable system for data collection and analysis. It summarises the available OECD and other international data on public sector inputs and processes. It also examines the existing internationally comparable data on outputs and outcomes, and recommends new approaches to measurement.

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Output Measurement

Key Issues

Governments need to measure inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes. To argue for better and more extensive measurement of outputs is in no way to dismiss or deny the need for other kinds of measures. Nevertheless, outputs have a special place. They are in a sense the final products of public sector organisations – what the organisation delivers to its users – the license, grant, surgical procedure, school lesson, pension or prison sentence. So they are, usually, what elected representatives and the public can actually hold those organisations responsible for. Furthermore, they are things which we can reasonably expect those organisations to keep track of themselves – we can expect them to know how many lessons/grants/licenses, etc. they are producing, at what cost, and with what quality. 

English

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