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Master's Professional Reports Abstract



Improving Services or Increasing Savings: the State Evaluator's Dilemma
Rachel C. Kahlert
Report 2001 K121 Public Affairs Library

This report is a discursive analysis of the dilemma that state evaluators face between improving services and increasing savings. Data from primary research in the context of state evaluation is used to examine this dilemma: On one side, state evaluators aspire to offer policy recommendations that ultimately result in improved public service. On the other hand, state evaluators operate under constraints by participating in the budgetary process; evaluators find themselves restricted to recommendations that should help to balance the operating budget. They are expected to suggest recommendations to minimize costs, in part to justify the expense of hiring them. To resolve this tension, evaluators tend to push the aspect of improving services into the background, which might eventually have adverse social and economic consequences. Finally, this report explores how the tension between improving government and increasing savings can be addressed in the public decision-making process.