The state of Public Performance Management Research: A Review of the Public Administration Literature

Morten Balle Hansen, M. Jae Moon

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalPaper without publisher/journalResearchpeer-review


This paper reviews the PA literature on Public Performance Management (PPM) with the purpose of first providing a broad description of some basic characteristics of this literature and second more specifically to focus on the distinction between conceptualizations and definitions of public performance and the empirical measures of performance. Our basic hypothesis is that there tend to be a gap between our theoretical conceptualizations and our empirical measures of performance and that the literature would benefit from being more explicit and reflective about that gap.
We first clarify the concept of PPM and present some of the major challenges related to PPM systems. We then review the literature broadly based on a search in six major PA journals and show that the PA literature on PPM systems is characterized by being a primarily post 20th century literature, mostly based on empirical evidence from North America and Europe and focusing on managerial aspects of performance in one sector rather than broader aspects of performance across sectors and governance levels
We discuss our findings and argue that especially the tendency in the empirical PA literature to equate performance with a managerial organizational approach and neglect political, legal and crosscutting (across sectors and levels of governance) approaches to public performance is unfortunate. We suggest some implications of our analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventBK21-PLUS 2017 New York Conference: Emerging Governance Issues and Policy Design in Comparative Perspective - CUNY-Lehman College, New York, New York, United States
Duration: 12 Jan 201715 Jan 2017


ConferenceBK21-PLUS 2017 New York Conference
LocationCUNY-Lehman College, New York
CountryUnited States
CityNew York

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