New article on Incentives and tournaments in public organizations

My new paper on tournaments and incentives is now available under Advance Access at Perspectives on Public Management and Governance. Here’s the abstract:

Advances in economic theory help us rethink the traditional public administration concern for accountability and performance in government. Reforms in government have concentrated on organizational designs that flow from piece-rate approaches to employee compensation, but they have largely ignored the prospects for incentive-compatibility within traditional personnel systems. There are important reasons to believe that competitive tournaments in public organization hierarchies, perhaps implemented in promotion systems, could be more effective than the pay-for-performance systems often called for in traditional principal-agent approaches, and therefore can be a useful component of the design of bureaucracies. More importantly, knowledge about tournaments in organizations helps us reconsider key institutional features of public bureaucracies.

Incentives and tournaments in public organizations

I’m pleased to announce that my new paper on tournaments and incentives will appear in Perspectives on Public Management and Governance. Here’s an abstract:

Advances in economic theory help us rethink the traditional public administration concern for accountability and performance in government. Reforms in government have concentrated on organizational designs that flow from piece-rate approaches to employee compensation, but they have largely ignored the prospects for incentive-compatibility within traditional personnel systems. There are important reasons to believe that competitive tournaments in public organization hierarchies, perhaps implemented in promotion systems, could be more effective than the pay-for-performance systems often called for in traditional principal-agent approaches, and therefore can be a useful component of the design of bureaucracies. More importantly, knowledge about tournaments in organizations helps us reconsider key institutional features of public bureaucracies.

Please reach out to me at aw@uga.edu if you would like a preprint.

Designing Systems for the Co-Production of Public Knowledge: Considerations for National Statistical Systems

I am pleased to say that “Designing Systems for the Co-Production of Public Knowledge: Considerations for National Statistical Systems,” written with Derrick Anderson of Arizona State, is now forthcoming at Policy Design and Practice. PDP is a new journal from Taylor & Francis. Here’s the abstract:

The functions of government are increasingly complex and information-driven. However, for many developing countries, the quality of information is poor and the consequences of that information poverty are substantial. If the goal is to establish or advance effective systems of government – in terms of formulating or implementing public policies by laws or rules – we have to consider how the design process can help attain that goal through improved information, data and evidence. National statistics are problems of governance, knowledge and design. While governments are primary users of national statistical systems, national statistical capacity is jointly determined because without contributions from non-state actors there is little hope of observing accurate data that expresses important social, economic and natural phenomena in any state – but especially so in failed, transitioning or struggling states. This paper discusses several findings from research studies for those who design and implement systems that collect, disseminate and interpret government statistics. These findings are derived from the literature on the co-production of public knowledge. The growth of complex, high dimensional data, accompanied by calls for investment in “big data” technologies and methods, will change how we collect and interpret data in many countries. Yet, our most important data enterprises are built on a human infrastructure with prospects that are both limited and supported by social factors. Organizations themselves must expend resources to navigate a world in which data is growing at exponential rates. But organizations are constrained and enabled by broader aspects of society that go well beyond government’s role in collecting, processing, and disseminating statistical data. As we discuss, one notable example is the relative presence of general purpose information technologies.

Please contact me or Derrick if you’d like a prepublication copy.

John Gaus Award nominations sought

Along with Kelly Leroux of the University of Illinois, Chicago (Committee Chair) and Jill Nicholson-Crotty of Indiana University, I am serving on the APSA John Gaus Award Committee. The John Gaus Award is one of APSA’s ten career awards. We welcome nominations!

The John Gaus Award and Lectureship honors the recipient’s lifetime of exemplary scholarship in the joint tradition of political science and public administration and, more generally, recognizes and encourages scholarship in public administration. The award carries a $2,000 prize and the recipient delivers a lecture at the APSA Annual Meeting.

The deadline for nominations from individuals is Monday, February 12, 2018. Nominations are made online through an electronic form. Please submit at this link:

http://www.apsanet.org/PROGRAMS/APSA-Awards/John-Gaus-Award