Comparing Local Governments’ Performance Internationally: A Mission Impossible?

International Review of Administrative Sciences, Vol. 75, Issue 2, 2009

Posted: 19 Jun 2009

See all articles by Emanuele Padovani

Emanuele Padovani

University of Bologna - Department of Management

Eric A. Scorsone

Michigan State University - Department of Agricultural Economics

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

While some attempt has been made to address cross-national trends in performance measurement systems (PMSs) in local governments, very few systemic efforts have been attempted to uncover similarities and differences. This article seeks to advance the understanding of the variables researchers should consider when comparing the adoption characteristics and process of PMSs across countries at the local level. Specifically, a framework is constructed to argue that the intersection of the level of performance regime, the types of intergovernmental relationships and the focus of PMS in use on the different types of measure, shape a specific ‘performance measurement context’ that affects comparability. The framework is then empirically motivated by a comparison between Italy and Michigan, USA. For practitioners and analysts, the framework is a tool to guide effective comparisons across service areas for applied research and organizational learning purposes. Points for practitioners. While benchmarking has become an increasingly used practice by local governments for various purposes — e.g. disclosure to citizens, definition of targets in budgeting processes, personnel evaluation — its domain is usually limited to comparisons within the same country. This article seeks to advance the understanding of the variables practitioners should consider when comparing local governments across countries at the local level. They are: the level of performance regime, the types of intergovernmental relationships and the focus of performance measurement systems in use including the different types of measures. These are discussed in the article and are the basis of a conceptual framework that will assist practitioners in understanding the comparability of local governments’ performance systems across countries.

Keywords: comparative studies, local government, performance measurement

JEL Classification: H70, O18, O19, O57, R50, R59

Suggested Citation

Padovani, Emanuele and Scorsone, Eric A., Comparing Local Governments’ Performance Internationally: A Mission Impossible? (2009). International Review of Administrative Sciences, Vol. 75, Issue 2, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1421233

Emanuele Padovani (Contact Author)

University of Bologna - Department of Management ( email )

Forli' Campus
15, p.le Vittoria
Forli', FC I-47121
Italy
+39(0543)374-621 (Phone)
+39(0543)374-660 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.unibo.it/docenti/emanuele.padovani

Eric A. Scorsone

Michigan State University - Department of Agricultural Economics ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States
+1(517)353-9460 (Phone)
+1(517)432-1800 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.aec.msu.edu/faculty/scorsone.htm

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
723
PlumX Metrics