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Measuring How Administration Shapes Citizenship: A Policy Feedback Perspective on Performance Management


Amber Wichowsky is a PhD student in the Political Science Department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a former program examiner in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Donald P. Moynihan is an associate professor of public affairs at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is the author of numerous articles on performance management, organizational change, homeland security, and organizational behavior. His book The Dynamics of Performance Management: Constructing Information and Reform was published by Georgetown University Press in 2008.


Governments increasingly require administrators to develop outcome measurements that reflect a program’s impact on society. But standard approaches to performance measurement have neglected the impact on citizenship outcomes—the individual civic capacities and dispositions and social bonds of civic reciprocity and trust. The concept is adapted from the growing policy feedback literature in political science, which offers strong empirical evidence that certain policies have measurable effects on citizenship outcomes such as political participation, social capital, a sense of civic belonging, and self-worth as a citizen. Using the Program Assessment Rating Tool as an example, the authors demonstrate the failure of performance assessments to consider the civic implications of public policies. They argue that performance management systems should focus on citizenship outcomes and offer a series of suggestions on how to measure such outcomes.