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Caught in an evaluatory trap: a dilemma for public services under NPFM

  • Olov Olson
  • Christopher Humphrey
  • James Guthrie
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    This paper presents a challenge to public sector managers, policy-makers and interested academics. Drawing on the findings of previous international comparative studies of new public financial management (NPFM) reforms, it concludes that public services and their providers are caught in an 'evaluatory trap'. The continual promotion of NPFM reforms, despite their evident repeated failure to meet specified achievements, is argued to be generating a cycle of ever-decreasing public services at ever-increasing costs per service unit. As the legitimacy of public services increasingly rests on the need to be seen as efficient and effective and as definitions of efficiency frequently demand adoption of the latest set of NPFM reforms, it follows that the future for public services is in question.

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    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal European Accounting Review.

    Volume (Year): 10 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 505-522

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:10:y:2001:i:3:p:505-522
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    1. Christopher Hood & Oliver James & George Jones & Colin Scott & Tony Travers, 1998. "Regulation Inside Government: Where New Public Management Meets the Audit Explosion," Public Money & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 61-68, April.
    2. Kathryn Riley & Rob Watling, 1999. "Education Action Zones: An Initiative in the Making," Public Money & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 51-58, July.
    3. Mellemvik, Frode & Monsen, Norvald & Olson, Olov, 1988. "Functions of accounting -- a discussion," Scandinavian Journal of Management, Elsevier, vol. 4(3-4), pages 101-119.
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