IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Program Evaluation, Performance Budgeting and PART: The U.S. Federal Government Experience



An examination of the history of budget reform in the United States indicates a perpetual tug of war between the executive and legislative branches of government for power. But surprisingly, in spite of this highly charged political process, there exists a consistent and common thread of concern for improving government performance and a desire to inject more “rationality” (measurement and evaluation) into budgeting decisions. In the past century, U.S. federal budget reforms have been centralizing (the Budget Act of 1921), activity-based (performance budgeting of the 1950s), focused on program evaluation (PPBS in the 1960s), management-oriented (MBO in the early 1970s), bottom-up (ZBB in the mid-1970s), draconian (Gramm-Rudman-Hollings of the 1980s), and concerned with results (GPRA in the 1990s). Unfortunately, establishing a direct link between and among performance measurement, program evaluation and final appropriations remains elusive. In the U.S. today, the stakes have become too significant and entrenched. The sheer size of the U.S. federal budget as well as the dramatic change in the nature of federal expenditures (from predominantly supporting government administration to funding transfer payments to individuals) ups the ante of the politics of the public budgeting process. Perhaps more importantly, the overwhelming U.S. federal deficit and debt simply overshadow consideration of performance as the President and Congress mull over literally billions of dollars in cuts to the current and next fiscal year budgets.

Suggested Citation

  • Katherine Willoughby & Paul Benson, 2011. "Program Evaluation, Performance Budgeting and PART: The U.S. Federal Government Experience," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1112, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper1112

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:ays:ispwps:paper1112. 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: (Paul Benson). 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.