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Inside the Reinvention Machine

Appraising Governmental Reform

Edited by Donald F. Kettl and John J. DiIulio

This book provides the first independent assessment of the Clinton administration’s “reinventing government” plan after a year of effort. What has the reinvention machine produced? Where does it most need to be oiled and adjusted? And has it truly changed the way the federal government conducts its business? The authors of Improving Government Performance: An Owner’s Manual (Brookings, 1993) join with other public management experts for a look at both the practice and theory of reinventing government. In examining the movement’s driving ideas, relationships with the government’s workforce, and connections with the broader political community, they take stock of the boldest governmental reform movement in a generation.

The authors assert that Vice President Gore’s National Performance Review has sparked remarkable innovations by operating managers in federal agencies. The NPR, however, has unleashed broad changes throughout the federal government without building the new capacity in the Executive Office of the President required to manage the changing burdens of federal programs. The book appraises the many positive management reforms that federal managers have created, assesses the central political and administrative support that the White House must provide if the NPR is to be successful in the long run, and examines the lessons about the president’s role in governmental management that the NPR’s experiment in decentralized administration teaches.

The contributors are Carolyn Ban, State University of New York (SUNY), Albany; Christopher H. Foreman, Jr., Brookings; Gerald Garvey, Princeton; Constance Horner, Brookings; and Beryl Radin, SUNY, Albany.

Donald F. Kettl, professor and associate director at the LaFollette Institute of Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the author of Sharing Power: Public Governance and Private Markets (Brookings, 1993) and coauthor of Civil Service Reform: Building a Government That Works (Brookings, 1996). John J. DiIulio, Jr., professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University and a nonresident senior fellow at Brookings, is the editor of Deregulating the Public Service: Can Government Be Improved? (Brookings, 1994) and coauthor of Body Count: Moral Povery… and How to Win America’s War Against Crime and Drugs (Simon Schuster, 1996).

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