Ruth D. Carlitz | Research & Politics
Governments frequently face distributive pressures that can lead them to allocate resources along partisan or ethnic lines. Such patterns of distribution can run counter to welfare maximization. It is therefore important to incorporate distributional concerns into the measurement of government performance. This paper outlines a method for doing so, adapting standard techniques for measuring government efficiency. The proposed method’s utility is demonstrated with data from Tanzanian local governments. The application illustrates how failing to take distributional concerns into account can bias the measurement of performance. Assessing how well governments translate resources into outputs that equitably serve their citizens is important for a number of topics in political science, including decentralization, distributive politics, and government fragmentation. It can also inform efforts to promote aid effectiveness. The proposed approach is applicable to a wide range of contexts given the increasing availability of geo-coded data on public goods. Replication files are provided for those wishing to conduct their own analyses.