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The Obama Administration and PBB: Building on the Legacy of Federal Performance-Informed Budgeting?

Authors

  • Philip G. Joyce

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Maryland
      Philip G. Joyce is a professor of management, fi nance, and leadership in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. His most recent book is The Congressional Budget Offi ce: Honest Numbers, Power and Policymaking (Georgetown University Press, 2011). His teaching and research interests include public budgeting, the congressional budget process, performance measurement, and intergovernmental relations. He is associate editor of Public Budgeting and Finance, past president of the American Association and Budget and Program Analysis, and past chair of ASPA's Center on Accountability and Performance. In addition to his academic career, Dr. Joyce has 12 years of public sector work experience at the state and federal levels. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. In 2009, he received the Elmer Staats Award from the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.
      E-mail:pgjoyce@umd.edu
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Philip G. Joyce is a professor of management, fi nance, and leadership in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. His most recent book is The Congressional Budget Offi ce: Honest Numbers, Power and Policymaking (Georgetown University Press, 2011). His teaching and research interests include public budgeting, the congressional budget process, performance measurement, and intergovernmental relations. He is associate editor of Public Budgeting and Finance, past president of the American Association and Budget and Program Analysis, and past chair of ASPA's Center on Accountability and Performance. In addition to his academic career, Dr. Joyce has 12 years of public sector work experience at the state and federal levels. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. In 2009, he received the Elmer Staats Award from the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.
E-mail:pgjoyce@umd.edu

Abstract

The administration of President Barack Obama, like those of his immediate predecessors, is focused on trying to improve the quality of, and use of, performance data. The federal government has been pursuing performance-informed budget reforms for more than 50 years. Most recently, the Bush administration reforms included the President’s Management Agenda and the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART). The Obama administration reforms include: measuring the effects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act; reducing or eliminating poorly-performing programs; setting a limited number of short-term, high-priority performance goals; and funding detailed program evaluations. The administration is taking a more agency-driven approach than the Bush administration, but continues to find it challenging to move beyond production of performance data to its use. There should be opportunities to show how performance information can be used for decision making, given the change in the political climate and the needs to reduce spending and the deficit. Historically, there has been little appetite in the Congress for evidence-based decision making. The administration, however, can continue to demonstrate how federal agencies can use performance information to more effectively manage programs.

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