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Program Budgeting and the Performance Movement: The Elusive Quest for Efficiency in Government (Public Management and Change) Paperback – October 19, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"William West has advanced our field by providing a sober assessment of the record of program and performance budgeting in federal agencies. The history of these initiatives reminds us about the unrealistic premises and promises of the performance movement and also of the substantial administrative challenges that give rise to our perennial search for reforms."―Paul L. Posner, professor of public administration, George Mason University

"The idea of results-based government has never been more popular, and the need for good research never greater. Professor West offers a grounded and thoughtful analysis of the life, death, and surprising rebirth of program budgeting. A remarkable understanding of administrative history and research into contemporary reforms combines to generate a deeply insightful account of the politics and practice of the performance movement. "―Donald Moynihan, professor, La Follette School of Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"Proponents of results-oriented management in the U.S. pride themselves on bringing hard-headed analysis and rationality to the 'business' of government. Arguing that strategic planning, the New Public Management, and managing for results are the latest iterations of the 'rationality project' informing the failed PPB movement in the 1960s, West applies the same standards to a recent resurgence of PPBs in federal agencies. His deftly woven tale of similarly disappointing results offers what will become a widely cited 'business' case for abandoning reformers' infatuation with one-size-fits-all rationality projects in the American Madisonian system."―Robert Durant, professor of public administration and policy, American University

"William West has written a richly informed and carefully argued description of the history of planning and program budgeting in federal agencies and a brilliant analysis of why it survives in the absence of evidence that it works."―George Frederickson, Edwin O. Stene Distinguished Professor of Public Administration, University of Kansas

"Both scholars and advocates of public sector reforms often act as if every attempt to change government is novel. This book demonstrates very effectively that reforms, especially those searching for efficiency, have a long lineage. This book is crucial for understanding not only the particular reforms studied but also for understanding public sector reform in general."―B. Guy Peters, Maurice Falk Professor of Government, University of Pittsburgh

About the Author

William F. West is a professor and Sara Lindsey Chair in the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.

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