Performance Based Budgeting

Performance Based Budgeting

Performance Based Budgeting

Performance Based Budgeting


Performance Based Budgeting is the next volume in the ASPA Classics series. It covers the most influential, paramount research articles published on public budgeting and finance. The book will surely be of great interest and use to anyone concerned with public budgeting, and anyone enrolled in, or teaching, a course on this topic in an MPA program or a doctoral program in public administration, public affairs, political science, or economics/public finance.


From budgeting's inception, public budgeteers have tried to connect funding decisions with accountability. Cleveland's idea of the budgetmaking process (1915) as a responsible executive openly questioned by representatives became the essence of Willoughby's view of the larger purpose of a budget (1918), namely, to conduct government in conformity with the will of the people. Burkhead (1961, 14) developed the idea of accountability:

The budget was conceived as a major weapon for instilling responsibility in the governmental structure: the budget system rests on popular control; the budget will publicize what government is doing and make for an informed and alert citizenry; the budget will destroy the rule of invisible government.

Budgeteers also profess an obligation to broader goals: "to serve the public by upholding justice, ensuring law and order, providing a common defense, protecting the helpless, preserving the environment, and advancing the health and welfare of the public" (Caiden, 1998, 36). The question that follows for all of us in budgeting emerges immediately: How well has budgeting met professional standards of accountability, and how well has it achieved its broader obligations? With the reaction to the growth of government in an environment of mixed levels of economic growth, broad and fundamental changes brought about by globalization, and the evolving bases by which we judge a good and moral society, a crisis has developed in which views of government's role as necessary and important have come into doubt. Many reforms have been designed to reinstate the belief among taxpayers, citizens, and clients that governments perform well and spend money wisely.

Current reform efforts have striven to strengthen government accountability by tightening the link between budget decisions and government performance. The belief in tightening the link, widely held, rests on the idea that the public, recognizing and understanding the performance-funding linkage and the success professionals in the public sector have in achieving results, will see the public sector, and public managers, as a productive, necessary, and important part of society.

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