International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2

By Jay M. Shafritz | Go to book overview

technologies ( Horton 1985). IRM is the organizational response to the trend of seeing information as a strategic resource. It required managers to develop information plans, make organizational design changes based on information flows, and evaluate the effectiveness of information technologies as applied to organizational problems. Forest W. Horton and Donald A. Marchand( 1982) edited a book in which contributors explained the value of thinking of information as a strategic organizational resource for the public organization.

In the federal government, the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 mandated that information resource management be adopted in all departments and agencies. Later, Office of Management and Budget Circular A-130 spelled out the relationship between IRM and other federal information policies such as privacy, freedom of information, access, security, and secrecy. Sharon Caudle ( 1988) evaluated the impact of IRM on the federal government, finding that, although some emphasis had been placed on developing information management plans, increases and decreases in budgets and agency performance was not directly tied to information resource management.

IRM is an idea that will continue to influence government and public agencies, even though it has failed to produce specific managerial methods or policy prescriptions or to demonstrate its utility. As with many such ideas in information technology, the pace of change is very rapid, and many concepts, regardless of how innovative they may be, have a very short half-life. Most governments today are examining their place on the information superhighway as part of their information resources management. The information highway is seen as the interacting set of information and telecommunications technologies, private industries and markets, and public policies. Federal, state, and local governments are all involved in the process of making policy and regulating the growing information highway often with substantial conflict. An IRM perspective directly links the development of the information highway to economic development of the state, region, or locality.

E. SAMUEL OVERMAN


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Caudle, Sharon, 1988. "Federal Information Resources Management After the Paperwork Reduction Act". Public Administration Review. (July-August.), vol. 48, 790-799.

Horton, Forest, 1985. Information Resources Management. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Horton, Forest, and Donald A. Marchand, eds., 1982. Information Management in Public Administration. Arlington, VA: Information Resources Press.

Machlup, Fritz, 1962. The Production and Distribution of Knowledge in the United States. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Porat, Marc, 1977. The Information Economy. Washington, D.C.: U.S. GPO.

INFRASTRUCTURE . The vast and vital network of public works facilities and resources necessary to produce and deliver public services-including highways, streets, and bridges; mass transit; rail; airports; sewers and water systems; schools; and prisons.

The public facilities, resources, and services known as infrastructure are vital to the production and distribution of private economic output in the United States, in addition to its citizens' overall quality of life. The construction, maintenance, and operation of such infrastructure is costly: During the 1980s, approximately 2.7 percent of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) was spent annually for those purposes. By 1991, total public spending for infrastructure was US$158 billion. In 1989, the net stock of physical infrastructure amounted to $1 trillion; another $1.1 trillion was in the infrastructure stocks of utilities. Each year, roughly $50 billion more is added to the public infrastructure stock by all levels of U.S. government.


Origins

The term "infrastructure" came into prominent use in the early 1980s. Alarming articles in the popular press aroused public concern. Studies done by professional and municipal associations, research institutions, consulting firms, and government documented the problems resulting from the deterioration of existing facilities and difficulties of new development. A 1983 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study highlighted three problems related to declining investments in infrastructure: deterioration, technological obsolescence, and insufficient capacity to serve future growth. The report also suggested the adverse effects of declining investment: (1) higher costs borne by users of inadequate or deteriorated facilities; (2) higher life-style construction costs for facilities that are not properly maintained; and (3) potentially significant constraints on economic development.

Most of what was said and written about the nation's infrastructure after the alarming reports of the early 1980s related to finance, with "big bucks" solutions in vogue until the budget woes of the national government became more evident. In the early 1980s the estimated price for dealing with the problems of the nation's infrastructure was unclear, ranging from US$470 billion to $3 trillion dollars within a 20-year period, with most studies at the high end of the range. Increased capital spending to compensate for the "disinvestment" of America's public infrastructure was widely advocated.

The early analyses of trends were somewhat misleading. Later studies suggested that revenue shortfalls were not as serious as previously presumed and that the average individual infrastructure project costs were not so high as to cause a doomsayer attitude. Similarly, dealing with the basic infrastructures may be accomplished in relatively piecemeal fashion-community by community and state

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International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2
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