Governance

The Tides of Reform: Making Government Work, 1945-1994

The Tides of Reform: Making Government Work, 1945-1994
Yale University Press.

Light, P.C.
01/01/1997

The past six decades have witnessed acceleration in both the number and variety of major administrative reform statutes enacted by Congress. This increase can be explained partly by the increased involvement of Congress, a parallel decrease in activity and resistance by the presidency, and heightened public distrust toward government. At least part of the variation in the tides or philosophies of reform involves a "field of dreams" effect in which the creation of new governmental structure during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s generated increased interest in process reforms. However, part of the acceleration and variety of reform appears to be related to the lack of hard evidence of what actually works in improving government performance. Measured by federal employees' perceptions of organizational performance, what matters most is not whether organizations were reformed in the past, but whether organizations need reform in the future and can provide essential resources for achieving their mission.

Fiscal Decentralization in Indonesia: A New Approach to an Old Idea

Fiscal Decentralization in Indonesia: A New Approach to an Old Idea
World Development, Vol. 24, No. 8.

Smoke, P. & Lewis, B.
01/01/1996

The system for financing and delivering local public services in Indonesia, as in many developing countries, is highly centralized. Growing awareness of the weaknesses of the present system has recently generated much interest in decentralization and numerous government policies and programs toward that end. In spite of these efforts, the role and capacity of local governments remain weak. In this paper, we outline the most critical obstacles to decentralization and examine a strategy to reduce their significance. Instead of centering our analysis on the definition of a normatively desirable decentralization outcome, we focus on the development of a process through which genuinely feasible outcomes could be defined and implemented, in this case an interministerial and intergovernmental process for evaluating local governments.
 

On the Progressivity of the Child Care Tax Credit: Snapshot Versus Time-Exposure Incidence

On the Progressivity of the Child Care Tax Credit: Snapshot Versus Time-Exposure Incidence
National Tax Journal, March, pp 55-71.

Schwartz, A.E. & Altshuler, R.
01/01/1996

We evaluate the progressivity of the federal Child Care Tax Credit using the Ernst and Young/ University of Michigan panel of tax return data. Incidence measures are calculated using both annual and "time-exposure" income to measure ability to pay. Both indicate that the benefits of the credit are progressively distributed. Replacing annual with time-exposure income dramatically increases the proportion of the credit received by lower-income taxpayers and yields a more even distribution of benefits across middle- and upper-income taxpayers. Our results suggest that policymakers should use both income measures to evaluate the credit.

Individual production, community characteristics and the provision of local public services

Individual production, community characteristics and the provision of local public services
Journal of Public Economics, Feb 93, Vol. 50 Issue 2, p277, 13p.

Schwartz, A.E.
02/01/1993

Suggests a method of indexing local public services using community characteristics to allow the isolation of movements in prices and quantities from expenditure data. Differences in individual production functions for commodities where both private goods and community characteristics are inputs of production; Impact of government activities on community characteristics and production.

An End to the War on Waste

An End to the War on Waste
Brookings Review; Spring93, Vol. 11 Issue 2, p48.

Light, P.C.
01/01/1993

Recommends how the Offices of Inspector General (OIG) can end the war of attribution in which they mop up the fraud, waste and abuse in government offices. OIGs prospering in the eighties; Attacking the enemy at the source; Starting with a modern financial management system.

Evaluating the Success of Need-Based State Aid in the Presence of Property Tax Limitations

Evaluating the Success of Need-Based State Aid in the Presence of Property Tax Limitations
Public Finance Quarterly, Oct 92, Vol. 20 Issue 4, p483, 16p.

Reschovsky, A. & Schwartz, A.E.
10/01/1992

Discusses the use of grants-in-aid to reduce fiscal disparities by local governments in the United States. Method used in Massachusetts to account for differences among communities in fiscal costs and resources; Indepth look at expenditure determination in tax limitations; Estimation of local government expenditures.

Social Security and the Politics of Assumptions

Social Security and the Politics of Assumptions
Public Administration Review, May/Jun85, Vol. 45 Issue 3, p363, 9p.

Light, P.C.
01/01/1985

This article addresses the importance of economic and demographic assumptions in framing the public policy process. It examines functions of such assumptions as an important aspect of government and as a new challenge for public managers. Using Social Security as a case study, the article suggests that recent fore- casts have been inaccurate for four basic reasons: (I) the social and economic environment, (2) technique, (3) assumption drag, and (4) politics. Nevertheless, the assumptions have been crucial at several key legislative turning points in recent Social Security reforms. The article reviews the impact of political pressure in three specific instances and suggests an emerging pattern in the use and misuse of assumptions. The article concludes with suggestions on how to address the importance of assumptions in the public policy process.

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