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Published by: Harvard Kennedy School
Published in: 1999

Abstract

The concept of 'benchmarking' as applied to the public sector, seeks to usequantitative measures and comparison over time to encourage progress towardsocial and efficiency goals. This case describes the origin and implementation ofone of the most ambitious benchmarking efforts in the US. It follows the programfrom a period of initial enthusiasm to legislative disillusion - and the efforts of a new program director to redirect and re-energize the effort. Broadly, it raises the question of what sorts of public goals are well-suited to the benchmarking process and how public agencies respond to it.

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Abstract

The concept of 'benchmarking' as applied to the public sector, seeks to usequantitative measures and comparison over time to encourage progress towardsocial and efficiency goals. This case describes the origin and implementation ofone of the most ambitious benchmarking efforts in the US. It follows the programfrom a period of initial enthusiasm to legislative disillusion - and the efforts of a new program director to redirect and re-energize the effort. Broadly, it raises the question of what sorts of public goals are well-suited to the benchmarking process and how public agencies respond to it.

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