May, 2008

How Well Do Federal Performance Reports Inform the Public?

  • Henry Wray

    Mercatus Center Visiting Fellow, Government Accountability Project
  • Jerry Ellig

    Research Professor, George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center
  • Maurice P. McTigue

    Vice President, Outreach
Key materials
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Summary

Enacted by large bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress, the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) requires federal agencies to produce strategic plans, annual performance plans, and annual performance reports. GPRA seeks to improve federal management, budgeting, and accountability to the public by requiring agencies to thoughtfully articulate the outcomes they seek to produce for the public and report on their progress toward achieving those results. Armed with solid information about program outcomes, congressional committees can then conduct oversight and make budget decisions based on real evidence of program effectiveness rather than intentions, wishes, or suppositions.