A Framework for Assessing Incentives in Results-Based Management

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Abstract

Many governmental results-based management systems have not produced the expected positive effects. This article analyzes the reasons for this common disappointment by looking at three components of results-based management—results-specific information, capacities, and incentives—and concludes that incentives are often the least developed. It then synthesizes a simple framework for evaluating the efficacy of results-oriented incentives. To be successful, results-specific incentives must be tailored to fit four program characteristics: timeliness, political environment, clarity of the cause-and-effect chain, and tightness of focus. This framework suggests that some systems put too exclusive an emphasis on budgetary incentives and could be strengthened by emphasizing personnel-system rewards, especially those that look beyond business models.

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