Implementing GPRA: Examining the Prospects for Performance Budgeting in the Federal Government
McNab, Robert M.
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The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) is the latest in a series of attempts to introduce performance budgeting at the federal level in the United States; attempts that largely failed due to administrative complexities, lack of investment in managerial, accounting, and information systems, and the absence of institutional incentives to promote gains in economic efficiency. If the GPRA were too succeed in significantly altering the focus of federal budgeting from inputs to outputs and, more importantly, outcomes, it is likely to have a positive influcence for years to come. While we find the objective of GPRA laudable, we do not believe that the GPRA, in its current form, will succeed in transforming the focus of federal budgeting from annual line-item appropriations to multi-year outputs and outcomes. The GPRA fails to address the incentive strucure of the current budget process; does not provide an independent mechanism by which performance plans and reports can be audited for accuracy; and does not provide a formal framework by which departments and Congress can contract on cost, output, and performance terms.
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