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Manufacturing Political Trust
Targets and Performance Measurement in Public Policy

$32.99 (C)

  • Date Published: June 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108431590

$ 32.99 (C)
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About the Authors
  • Measurement and targets have been widely criticised as distorting policy and engendering gaming - yet they continue to be widely used in government. This book offers an original new account explaining the persistent appeal of performance measurement. It argues that targets have been adopted to address a crisis of trust in politics, through creating more robust mechanisms of accountability and monitoring. The book shows that such tools rarely have their intended effect. Through an in-depth analysis of UK targets on immigration and asylum since 2000, it shows that far from shoring up trust, targets have engendered cynicism and distrust in government. Moreover, they have encouraged intrusive forms of monitoring and reform in public administration, with damaging consequences for trust between politicians and civil servants. Despite these problems, performance measurement has now become embedded in techniques of public management. It has also become normalised as a way of framing policy problems and responses. Thus despite their acknowledged problems, targets are likely to retain their allure as techniques of political communication and governance.

    • Employs a range of theoretical approaches from across the social and political sciences to examine the use of performance targets in public policy
    • Focuses on the highly topical subject of political trust, and how governments attempt to address voter mistrust in politicians and political institutions
    • Analyses the highly relevant subject of contemporary UK immigration and asylum to illustrate the pitfalls of using performance measurement targets
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'A fantastically important and timely book on a topic of phenomenal and - alas - ever growing importance. This is a major intervention in a debate whose significance can scarcely be over-stated. Highly recommended.' Colin Hay, Sciences Po, Paris

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108431590
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.315kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Performance measurement and the production of trust
    2. The problem of political trust
    3. The double life of targets
    4. Monitoring public administration
    5. Information and trust
    6. Public trust in targets
    7. Targets and issue definition
    8. After performance measurement?

  • Author

    Christina Boswell, University of Edinburgh
    Christina Boswell is Professor of Politics at the University of Edinburgh. She is author of The Political Uses of Expert Knowledge: Immigration Policy and Social Research (Cambridge, 2009). Christina is currently leading a major Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) project entitled 'Seeing Illegal Immigrants: State Monitoring and Political Rationality', which explores how public authorities in France, Germany and the UK have constructed and monitored irregular migrants since the 1960s.

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