Performance data allows politicians to exert accountability over public organizations, even as ideological biases can affect how they interpret such data. However, we know little about how motivated decision-makers prioritize goals when facing multiple pieces of contradictory performance data that reflect the competing goals of public services. Such goal conflict is an inherent aspect of public management. To understand its implications for the use of performance data use we develop a theory of goal reprioritization. We start by assuming that elected officials have preferences between specific policy goals, and about governance processes – such as a preference for public or private service provision. When elected officials face contradictory pieces of performance data, governance preferences drive performance evaluations to the point that they are willing to reweight their goal preferences to minimize cognitive dissonance. We offer experimental evidence of this process, showing that elected officials asked to evaluate school performance reprioritize between two distinct policy goals for schools – test scores and student well-being – to fit with their governance preferences. Reprioritization is an attractive strategy since it allows elected officials to claim they are using performance data, even as underlying governance preferences lead them to set aside the evaluative goal-based criteria by which they would otherwise make performance evaluations. In other words, preferences concerning the nature of government can trump goal preferences when decision-makers use performance data.
Prior research suggests that volunteering benefits not only the recipient of help, but also the volunteer, who enjoys psychological and health benefits. This study investigates how volunteering and motivation for volunteering is associated with cumulative life-satisfaction among older adults. The results show that volunteering, even volunteering that occurred three decades earlier in one’s life, is associated with cumulative life-satisfaction at retirement age. The results suggest that why people volunteer matters in assessing life-satisfaction. Volunteers who are motivated by a desire to help others enjoy higher life-satisfaction. By contrast, volunteering for self-oriented reasons is either not associated or has a negative association with life-satisfaction.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are becoming price competitive with conventional electricity sources. Their adoption is predicated on both private (electricity cost savings) and public (climate and air quality) benefits, which are obscured by wide variation in PV system price. System quality may be an important source of that variation, but it remains poorly understood. Here, I used degradation as a proxy for system quality, and studied degradation of small (15<kW) California Solar Initiative (CSI) systems to explore the hypothesis that high price reflects high quality. I analyzed data for 386 mature systems generated by the Expected Performance Based Buydown (EPBB) portion of the May 2016 CSI Working Dataset, the National Solar Radiation Database (NSRDB), and the Tracking the Sun (TTS) dataset. These systems showed a median annual degradation rate of 1.0% based on year-on-year (YOY) differencing. Using multiple linear regression, I found no support for the hypothesis that high-cost residential solar PV systems avoid annual degradation differently than low-cost systems. In general, the model explains little variation in the data, likely due to either data quality issues in the components of the degradation rate calculation and/or to significant but unexplored variables. Additionally, by estimating the value of a PV system with median annual degradation relative to one with no degradation, I demonstrated that the value of degradation represents a non-trivial cost to system owners. Despite a large range (+32% to 0%), median degradation adds 11% to the $/kWh cost of residential solar. These results demonstrate that policy interventions targeting degradation are an important area for transparency and financial risk reduction in residential PV markets.
In recent decades, governments have invested in the creation of two different forms of knowledge production about government performance: program evaluations and performance management. Prior research has noted both tensions between these two approaches and potential for complementarities when they are aligned. We offer empirical evidence on how program evaluations connect with performance management in the United States federal government in 2000 and 2013. We show that in the later time period there is an interactive effect between the two approaches, which we argue reflects deliberate efforts by the Bush and Obama administrations to build closer connections between program evaluation and performance management. Drawing on the 2013 data, we also offer evidence that how evaluations are implemented matters, and that evaluations facilitate performance information use by reducing the causal uncertainty that managers face as they try to make sense of what performance data mean.
How to account for the ubiquitous presence of public sector performance regimes given evidence that such regimes have failed to achieve their promises? We argue that this paradox perseveres partly because the dominant doctrinal approach – justifying what we label as the external accountability regime – responds to a real need for political account giving, but also partly because alternative frameworks that can satisfy that need have been slow to emerge. We describe a fundamental mismatch between external accountability regimes and the basic characteristics of the public sector. As a result, performance regimes are often experienced as externally imposed standards that encourage passivity, gaming, and evasion, and will therefore never be able to achieve performance gains that depend on purposeful professional engagement. Rather than simply criticizing external accountability regimes, we offer an alternative framework better informed by the empirical study of performance regimes. The proposed alternative internal learning regime makes the case for extensive professional involvement in the development and interpretation of goals. This type of regime offers not just a framework to inform the design of performance regimes, but also a prospective research agenda to address how performance regimes affect motivation, behavior, and public sector outcomes.
This study for Wisconsin’s Bureau of Assisted Living (BAL) has addressed the question of how to promote and maintain effectiveness in ensuring regulatory compliance and resident protection under such conditions.
Upon release from prison, persons convicted of an OWI offense are required to complete treatment before having their driver’s license reinstated.
This report highlights the importance of income volatility and discusses policies, programs, and products that can mitigate income volatility for low-income individuals.
This report designs a package of construction mitigation services that the City of Milwaukee could implement to limit the negative impact construction projects have on surrounding businesses.