Karin Hååg

Spring

The Strong Focus On Output Information: A Threat To Evaluation In The Swedish State Sector?

Authors:
Pages:
25-41

This article discusses the issue of combining different kinds of results information for decision-making in the public sector. Its purpose is to take part in the debate on public management and management by results, by arguing that the trend in public management is a focus on information about outputs and a decreasing interest in information about outcomes. Since the mid-1980s there has been an obvious drop in the interest in results information in the public sector in Sweden and in many other countries (those within the OECD for instance). The favoured concept for the state sector in Sweden is management by results. Ministries and agencies have developed skills to measure not only costs, but also quality and performance. It is easy to believe that this development also should stimulate the development of evaluations of outcomes and in-depth analyses, as these evaluations are important to the concept of management by results. However, we argue that simpler and more focused follow-up information has increased and so also has interest in such information. In short, interest in information about outputs has increased at the expense of interest in information about outcomes. This threatens to diminish the future role of evaluation.