International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2

By Jay M. Shafritz | Go to book overview

mental organizations that speak to the interests of various distinct minorities whose needs may not be adequately addressed through majoritarian political programs. In short, it emphasized the extent of the ignorance about this sector. The (Filer) Commission on Private Philanthropy and Public Needs was established to encourage ongoing research and to focus attention on the significance of the voluntary sector. Without question the Filer Commission fulfilled this mission. Its Research Papers continue to serve as a baseline for investigation decades later.

ERNA GELLES


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Commission on Private Philanthropy and Public Needs, 1975. Giving in America: Toward a Stronger Voluntary Sector. Report of the Commission on Private Philanthropy and Public Needs. Washington, D.C.: The Commission.

-----, 1977. Research Papers, Vols. 1-5. Washington, D.C.: Department of the Treasury, GPO.

Hall, Peter Dobkin, 1987. "A Historical Overview of the Private Nonprofit Sector", in Walter W. Powell., ed., The Nonprofit Sector. New Haven: Yale University Press, pp. 3-21.

Hodgkinson, Virginia, and Murray Weitzman, 1984. Dimensions of the Independent Sector. Washington, D.C.: Independent Sector.

Salamon, Lester M., and Alan J. Abramson, 1982. The Federal Budget and the Nonprofit Sector. Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute Press.

Powell, Walter W., ed., 1987. The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook. New Haven: Yale University Press.

FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION . The management of financial resources, including the analysis of the fiscal impacts of policy options.

Public financial management seeks to create and preserve value in society by helping public decisionmakers and mangers (1) to make choices about how large government should be within the capacity of the overall national economy and according to the preferences of the citizenry; (2) to raise resources from private hands so that they may be put to public use, but doing so in a fashion that minimizes social and economic damage; (3) to allocate and control resources carefully when they have been moved to government supervision so that they suffer neither waste nor misappropriation; and (4) to report periodically on the financial and program results to the public, and to legislative and executive bodies, and external observers.

The aggregate resources of society are mostly in the hands of private owners. They are used in the market economy but some resources are transferred to public use by the coercive power of taxation which democratic societies allow the sovereign only under limited circumstances. Public financial management helps to see that these resources are managed at the margin to achieve the maximum benefit to society. Financial administration choices include balancing the private and public use and the alternate use and timing of use of economic resources, the manner in which the revenue system allocates the cost of public operations among sectors of the private economy, the control of public resources to prevent waste and theft, and the creation and operation of systems to provide overall protection of assets in public control.

In many respects, these tasks closely follow those practiced in the financial management of a private business. Managers try to protect and to add to the value of the private firm by judicious allocation and control of that firm's resources. Differences emerge because the nature of goods and services provided in private markets-the domain of private financial management-is fundamentally different from that of the public sector, which causes the terms of the resource constraints faced, the ownership of goods and services, and the objectives of private and public managers to differ. Many tools and skills are, however, substantially transferrable between the sectors. To understand the role and functions of public financial management these differences need to be made explicit.


Public Versus Private

Governments provide services that, although valued by people, will not be provided in socially desirable amounts by private entities, either proprietary or charitable. Government services are not uniquely essential: most governments leave things necessary to life itself-food, clothing, and shelter-largely to the private sector. Indeed, private markets handle most production and consumption choices, but, as articulated in Richard Musgrave ( 1959) concept of the multiple roles of the public household, markets cannot be expected (1) to yield optimal results when the actions of one party have external effect for good or evil on others, (2) to alter inequitable income distributions in socially desirable ways, or (3) to correct problems of inflation or general unemployment that contaminate the aggregate market economy. In these respects, a private entity-which can be expected to seek the best rewards for its owners, with casual attention at best to the interests of others-will not act optimally because that entity cannot recoup the external fruits of its actions. Governments legitimately act, even in an economy driven by strong free market principles, when these circumstances create failure in market provision; public financial management helps with the information and control tasks associated with a response to those failures.

Market failure means that true prices cannot be charged for government services, so services will be financed primarily by exercise of the sovereign coercive power of taxation, not voluntary market exchange. Services may reasonably be publicly provided if their value is greater than the full resource cost of their production; but what are public services worth? Values of services cannot be de-

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International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2
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