Ahlbäck Öberg, Shirin
Uppsala universitet, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen.
(Engelska)Ingår i: RC27 Structure and Organization of Government: Panel: RC27.05 Out of Control or over Controlled? Incentives, Audits and New Public Management, 2016
The post-NPM debate on government control of state authorities is un-decisive in both problem description and in terms of suggested remedies. ‘Wicked problems’ are said to call for re-integration of state executives, and for enhanced government control in order to increase coordination between public organizations. At the same time, excessive (performance) control is accused of posing a threat to professionalism in the public sector and to its problem solving capacity. In this paper we build upon Verhoest et al’s (2004) suggestion that we need to treat autonomy as a multi-dimensional phenomenon and argue the importance of adopting a nuanced analytical perspective on issues of too much or too little control. Using a unique data set containing information on nearly 20 years of governmental steering as this is expressed in yearly appropriation direction documents (N=1330) issued by the Swedish government, we a) map out how the government’s demand for performance information has developed over time, and b) as we treat performance information demands as one out of many policy instruments in a government’s toolbox we also look for specific and stable combinations of different policy instruments (represented by autonomy dimensions). Our findings show that the number of performance information indicators requested from governments in appropriation direction-documents have on a general level decreased over time. From our bivariate and multivariate analyses we have shown that any government’s inclination to e.g. demand less performance information from its state agencies in general comes with a less autonomous management model for the state agency.
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