Incentives and Influence Activities in the Public Sector: the Trade-off in Performance Budgeting and Conditional Grants

Performance budgeting schemes in the public sector have to operate with imperfect performance measures. We argue that these imperfections generate incentives for the potential recipients of performance-based funds to use up resources in socially wasteful influence activities. We develop a game-theor...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:MAGKS - Joint Discussion Paper Series in Economics (Band 20-2013)
Main Authors: Bischoff, Ivo, Blaeschke, Frédéric
Format: Article
Language:English
Published: Philipps-Universität Marburg 2013
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Online Access:PDF Full Text
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Summary:Performance budgeting schemes in the public sector have to operate with imperfect performance measures. We argue that these imperfections generate incentives for the potential recipients of performance-based funds to use up resources in socially wasteful influence activities. We develop a game-theoretical model to analyse the trade-off between the efficiency-enhancing effect of performance budgeting and the social waste it induces. Comparing a performance signal based on recipients’ effort to a signal based on their output shows that a) the former evokes more social waste while the latter amplifies inequality in the amount of public services across districts. Performance budgeting schemes using the outputbased signal yield welfare gains in a wide range of parameter constellations while the applicability of PB-schemes using the effort-based signal is limited. We also show that welfare losses arise when the government is opportunistic. Our model can be applied to the very similar trade-off emerging with the use of conditional grants in federalist countries.
ISSN:1867-3678
DOI:10.17192/es2024.0183