Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

The Grail of Efficiency

Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

The Grail of Efficiency

Article excerpt

"Boosting Government Productivity" by Thomas Dohrmann and Lenny T. Mendonca, in The McKinsey Quarterly (2004: No. 4), www.mckinseyquarterly.com.

With the first of the 76 million aging baby boomers due to begin retiring in a few years, the federal government will soon be facing some hard choices: Cut retirees' benefits or raise taxes to pay for them--or reduce public services for everyone else. But there's another, less painful option: Improve government productivity.

Yes, it's been tried before, notably in the "reinventing government" effort of the early 1990s, and with some success. But the surface has barely been scratched, say Dohrmann and Mendonca, principals in the Washington office of McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm.

Between 1987 and 1994, the federal government's productivity grew by a total of only 0.4 percent, while the private sector's grew at a 1.5 percent annual rate. Washington then stopped measuring its productivity; private sector productivity has since grown by three percent annually. If Washington could match the 1.5 percent rate, the savings would total $104 billion to $312 billion.

That wouldn't mean simply taking an ax to government payrolls and programs. A handful of state governments and quasi-governmental organizations have shown the way. Illinois, for example, has consolidated public aid programs scattered through six different departments into a new Department of Human Services, eliminating duplication, better serving aid recipients, and redeploying saved money and staff to new programs. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.