IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Metrics, Targets and Performance


  • Philip Stevens

    (National Institute of Economic and Social Research and Medium Term Strategy Group, Ministry of Economic Development, New Zealand.,

  • Lucy Stokes

    (National Institute of Economic and Social Research.)

  • Mary O’Mahony

    (National Institute of Economic Research and Birmingham Business School.)


The setting and use of targets in the public sector has generated a growing amount of interest in the UK. This has occurred at a time when more analysts and policymakers are grasping the nettle of measuring performance in and of the public sector. We outline a typology of performance indicators and a set of desiderata. We compare the outcome of a performance management system - star ratings for acute hospital trusts in England - with a productivity measure analogous to those used in the analysis of the private sector. We find that the two are almost entirely unrelated. Although this may be the case for entirely proper reasons, it does raise questions as to the appropriateness of such indicators of performance, particularly over the long term.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip Stevens & Lucy Stokes & Mary O’Mahony, 2006. "Metrics, Targets and Performance," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 197(1), pages 80-92, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:niesru:v:197:y:2006:i:1:p:80-92

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Carol Propper & Deborah Wilson, 2012. "The Use of Performance Measures in Health Care Systems," Chapters, in: Andrew M. Jones (ed.),The Elgar Companion to Health Economics, Second Edition, chapter 33, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Gwyn Bevan & Richard Hamblin, 2009. "Hitting and missing targets by ambulance services for emergency calls: effects of different systems of performance measurement within the UK," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 172(1), pages 161-190, January.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:niesru:v:197:y:2006:i:1:p:80-92. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publications). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.