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PSC Fall 2014 Newsletter now available

Martha Bailey and Nicolas Duquette win Cole Prize for article on War on Poverty

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Next Brown Bag

Monday, Nov 3
Melvin Stephens, Estimating Program Benefits

The Performance of Performance Standards

Publication Abstract

Heckman, J.J., C. Heinrich, and Jeffrey A. Smith. 2002. "The Performance of Performance Standards." Journal of Human Resources, 37:778-811.

This paper examines the performance of the JTPA performance system, a widely emulated model for inducing efficiency in government organizations. We present a model of how performance incentives may distort bureaucratic decisions. We define cream skimming within the model. Two major empirical findings are (a) that the short-run measures used to monitor performance are weakly, and sometimes perversely, related to long-run impacts and (b) that the efficiency gains or losses from cream skimming are small. We find evidence that centers respond to performance standards.

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