Growing the Productivity of Government Services

Growing the Productivity of Government Services

Patrick Dunleavy and Leandro Carrera

Productivity is essentially the ratio of an organization’s outputs divided by its inputs. For many years it was treated as always being static in government agencies. In fact productivity in government services should be rising rapidly as a result of digital changes and new management approaches, and it has done so in some agencies. However, Dunleavy and Carrera show for the first time how complex are the factors affecting productivity growth in government organizations – especially management practices, use of IT, organizational culture, strategic mis-decisions and political and policy churn.

Chapter 6: Broadening the picture – two national regulatory agencies

Patrick Dunleavy and Leandro Carrera

Subjects: economics and finance, public finance, public sector economics, politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy


Many of the core (or inalienable) functions of government are regulatory ones, concerned with the establishment of the legal identities of citizens and with the registration of roles and granting of permissions. Constitutional and legal provisions cluster thickly in regulatory areas, normally requiring that government involvement is undertaken by civil servants or independent agencies, but still squarely within the government sector. In the two areas we examine here, the provision of passports and the government registration of drivers and motor vehicles, there is also a high potential for corruption and malversation. Hence, directly employing public officials to administer these services has historically been seen as important for assurance and effectiveness. In addition, other governments will only accept foreign citizens and vehicles entering their territory on an inter- state basis. So international treaties and protocols all require that passport provision and vehicle licensing remain government controlled.

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