PPB and the Public Policymaking System--Some Reflections on the Papers by Bertram M. Gross and Allen Schick.

by Yehezkel Dror

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Comments on two papers presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association and to be published in Public Administration Review. Although rich in ideas, they illustrate a certain confusion in public administration over the meaning and application of PPB. Schick's central message--that PPB is a necessary analytic tool in solving public problems--is valid. But his use of PPB to examine American politics is irrelevant, and his view of PPB as generating far-reaching innovation is doubtful. Gross's paper usefully points out PPB's adaptability to various conditions and recognizes it as part of the broader processes of resource recruitment, allocation, and planning. Yet his framework is still not broad enough; PPB should be regarded as part of the policymaking system in which many different units interact in various partly stabilized but open-ended modes. Researchers should give more attention to how best to prepare the policy making system to receive PPBS, a different matter from adopting PPB procedures. Furthermore, program budgeting is only one of many possible improvements; solution of current problems may need new ideas and social inventions even more than better analysis. (See also P-3991.)

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