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Abstract

We present the first empirical assessment of the U.K. Labour government's program of public management reform. This reform program is based on rational planning, devolution and delegation, flexibility and incentives, and enhanced choice. Measures of these variables are tested against external and internal indicators of organizational performance. The setting for the study is upper tier English local governments, and data are drawn from a multiple informant survey of 117 authorities. The statistical results indicate that planning, organizational flexibility, and user choice are associated with higher performance. Conclusions are drawn for the theory and practice of public management reform. © 2006 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management