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In 2003, the National Commission on the Public Service, chaired by Paul Volcker, issued a report detailing the serious problems within the federal government today and presenting a series of recommendations calling for changes in its organization, leadership, and operations. In this book, RAND experts in public policy and management suggest practical ways to implement the recommendations and define a research agenda for the future. This volume comprises thirteen essays that address the primary problem areas identified by the Volcker Commission, along with the text of the commission report itself.

"This volume of essays is RAND's follow-up to the second Volcker Commission. But it is more than that: It presents a bird's-eye view of RAND's perspective on what needs to be done to improve government performance generally. It is important because RAND's work is influential in shaping public policy and influences public managers throughout the United States and abroad. The most significant aspect of this symposium is that it brought together much current thinking about the state of the art of public management… The RAND [researchers] know a great deal and can put what they know into an inviting framework. They are adventurous and venture where others fear to tread. Although they possibly stick too close to the Volcker Commission framework, they go much further afield to describe and explain the latest trends in contemporary American governance, intellectual movements, management theory, statistical findings, research projects, public opinion surveys, academic leanings, business methods, scholastic tools, and international developments. They try to be as current as possible. So whatever they write deserves attention. Hence, this book is an essential companion not just to the 2003 Volcker Commission report but to any study of the federal government and government in general. Every contribution is thought provoking and an education in itself."

- Public Administration Review, January/February 2006

"This volume presents practical perspectives and approaches to restructuring government agencies by mission, enhancing leadership, and creating flexible and performance-driven agencies. This book actually includes the full text of the Volcker Commission report and 12 thoughtful chapters that address future governance challenges (market state and high-performance government) as well as specific responses to the commission's three primary recommendations."

- Public Administration Review, April 2005

"'High-Performance Government' is worthy of attentive reading because it plunges right into the heart of the debates on government reform. [Its] contribution is evading a naïve rationalism and simplification that would arise from the benchmarking of the private sector as a source of truth for the state, and instead be built from what the anthropologist Clifford Geertz calls a 'size-up-and-solve social science': a social science of evaluation and resolution."

- Futuribles, May 2005

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This book was made possible by the generosity of donors to the Pardee RAND Graduate School, particularly Paul Volcker and Eugene and Maxine Rosenfeld.

This report is part of the RAND monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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