Economic Perspectives on Public Organizations

Aidan R. Vining and David L. Weimer

in The Oxford Handbook of Public Management

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780199226443
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management C

Economic Perspectives on Public Organizations

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Business and Management
  • Public Management and Administration



This article aims to relate some of the core ideas of NPM (new public management) directly to their economic foundations by reviewing relevant theory and empirical evidence. This overview is limited in two ways. First, it focuses on the more strategic end of the NPM agenda and says little about important tactical issues, such as improving accounting procedures within agencies, more visionary leadership, or the potential of performance auditing. As far as present knowledge encompasses, economics offers little specific advice to public managers about these issues. The article focuses, therefore, on issues such as contracting-out and privatization that are believed to be informed by economics. Second, the focus is primarily normative, though managers' motivations cannot, and should not, be completely ignored. Some positive theory proponents believe that a primarily normative focus is largely a waste of time—that contracting-out decisions, for example, will be driven by bureaucratic self-interest, however complex that self-interest is to model.

Keywords: new public management; public organizations; public managers; contracting-out; privatization; bureaucratic self-interest

Article.  10438 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Public Management and Administration

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribeRecommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »