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Legally Enforced Performance Measurement of Public Services Crowding-Out or Crowding-In of Motivation?

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This paper discusses the legitimacy of legally enforced performance measurement of public services. Critics argue that performance measurement introduces “economic reason” and “instrumental rationality” and therewith undermines, among others, professional autonomy, self-esteem and motivation. If this critique is correct, it raises serious doubts about the legitimacy and the efficacy of governmental laws that enforce performance measurement on public services. The motivation crowding theory is introduced to answer the question whether and under what conditions we might expect positive or rather negative effects of performance measurement on the autonomy, self-esteem and motivation of public service professionals. I apply the theory to explain why two authors in this issue, Enequist and Hartkamp, valuate performance measurement so differently. The paper concludes that performance measurement does not inevitably and invariably have detrimental effects and that more empirical studies are needed to further unravel under what conditions performance measurement has desirable or rather inexpedient effects on public services, more in particular on the motivation of public service professionals.
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  • Legisprudence aims at contributing to the improvement of legislation by studying the processes of legislation from the perspective of legal theory. The content of the journal covers legislation in a broad sense. This comprises legislation in both the formal and the material sense (from national and European parliaments, regulation, international law), and alternatives to legislation (covenants, sunset legislation, etc.). It also takes in regulation (pseudo-legislation, codes of behaviour and deontological codes, etc.). The journal is theoretical and reflective. Contributions to the journal make use of an interdisciplinary method in legal theory. Comparative and system transcending approaches are encouraged. Sociological, historical, or economic studies are taken into account to the extent that they are relevant from the perspective of interdisciplinary legal theory. Dogmatic descriptions of positive law are not taken into consideration.
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