What government must do well: Creating value for society
This article is stimulated by a deep dissatisfaction with conceptualizations of government that emphasize service delivery, management of the economy, welfare, and regulation of undesired actions affirms and individuals and with reform efforts seeking only to improve government services to customers and/or to reduce the impacts of government upon individuals and firms. These approaches undervalue the large roles governments must successfully perform in providing the institutional framework for all human activity. This article develops a framework and language with which to analyze value creation roles of governments. Government performs three functions for society: constituting effective polities as instruments of collective choice, making political choices that define and protect communities, and delivery of services. To encompass the full array of governmental roles in society, five arenas of governmental actions are identified: constitutional, jurisdictional and civic infrastructure, policy strategy and policy infrastructure, program implementation, and organizational/managerial. Three types of values can be created by governmental action: place, complex functional system, and goods and services. The five arenas and three types of value are used as axes of a matrix, the cells of which include judgments of the social value created, with less social value seen in the lower level arenas and goods and services types of value commonly emphasized in public administration. Additionally, it is argued that more value is created in design than in management of institutions, policies, and programs.
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Kirlin, John J., "What government must do well: Creating value for society" (1996). McGeorge School of Law Scholarly Articles. 381.