This article focuses on the economic regulation of infrastructure industries such as electricity, telecommunications, and water and, in particular, on the evaluation of outcomes, rather than regulatory procedural processes. Furthermore, it discusses the evaluation methods in detail. It also discusses alternative methods that have been used in recent years to evaluate regulatory agencies including the various types of case study, econometric, and other methods of statistical analysis. It then considers the proposed structured case study approach in the World Bank Handbook on the evaluation of infrastructure regulatory systems that tries to combine the evaluation of regulatory governance with the evaluation of industry outcomes. This article also covers the application of that and similar methods both in the context of infrastructure regulation and of merger remedies in competition policy.
Jenny M. Lewis
This chapter examines an important paradox of performance measurement and management in health care—the problem of simultaneous overload and deficit. To understand why this paradoxical situation exists, the chapter begins with a consideration of accountability and how this has changed as the performance movement has grown. It then examines why performance is being measured, what is being measured, and some fundamental problems with performance measurement. Finally, it considers the relationship between performance measurement and performance management. It concludes that this paradox of both too much and too little is inherent to measuring and managing performance, particularly in health care. This problem can be mitigated with more contextually specific approaches and greater local flexibility and dialogue. But it cannot be easily solved in highly centralized systems where such changes amount to a loss of control and a concomitant increase in social, economic and political risks.
Though authors vary in the detailed definitions of the term “public management” that they offer, most of the standard definitions of public management amount to some variant on “the study and practice of design and operation of arrangements for the provision of public services and executive government,” while management itself is conventionally defined as the direction of resources or human effort towards the achievement of desired goals. And it is often observed that organization—and the willingness to be organized—is as important, if not more so, as money and other resources for the effective conduct of warfare, welfare, and many other kinds of public activity. So if the design and operation of public projects, services, and organizations forms the heart of public management, the subject might seem straightforward.
This article revisits the main elements of the theory of the audit explosion, critically addressing the extent to which its claims have relevance beyond the UK context. The argument begins with the traditional model of auditing, against which the transformations implied by the audit explosion theory can be evaluated. This is followed by a broad, and no doubt familiar, account of the public management reforms which have, in some countries and in some domains, been strongly associated with an audit explosion. Third, an explicit comparison between the UK and the USA is made and its implications for the theory are considered. The second half of the article shifts to the critical focus of the theory of the audit explosion. First, the significance of auditable systems of control for the expansion of audit processes is emphasized. Second, a variety of adverse consequences of the audit explosion are addressed. The article concludes with a series of reflections on the normative issues at stake in the design of auditing and inspection practices if the worst excesses of the audit explosion are to be avoided.