Please don’t go bored on me now. I’ll post videos later for your entertainment. For now, though, here’s some food for thought: can government “output” and “productivity” be accurately compared with manufacturing output and productivity? Better yet, it there any such thing as government “output” (other than license plates and other products made by inmates.)?
A few days ago, he supplemented the post with another post with some graphs comparing manufacturing and government from the perspective of output and particularly productivity.
Hansen concluded from his graphs that, while “manufacturers continue to empower their employees with the tools and techniques that allow them to produce more and more value”, “government’s productivity remains virtually unchanged, insulated if you will, from the forces driving productivity increases on the part of the private sector.”
“[W]hat good,” he asks, “does it do to improve the productivity of Ohio’s private sector when government simply grows in size without the least bit of productivity improvement?
He sums it up: “The government our private economy pays for must improve its productivity. When it doesn’t, it costs the rest of us missed growth and prosperity.”
I included the post on a newsletter and received the following comment from a reader:
I’m fascinated by “More on Government, Manufacturing and Productivity.”
Government productivity is an oxymoron. This isn’t just a put down it’s a truism.
Productivity in the classical economic sense is “adding value.” If a teacher sits in a classroom all day doing nothing and the students learn nothing, are we to say that there is productivity? Conversely, how do we measure the added value of the efforts of an outstanding teacher? Maybe a teacher with a larger class is more productive, whether the students learn anything or not.
What about a clerk at city hall who processes building permits? If they process more permits per hour than they did before are they more productive? Did they add any value?
Is a police officer who issues more speeding tickets more productive than one who just sits in his cruiser eating donuts?
Perhaps government productivity could be measured in collecting or spending tax dollars.
All seriousness aside, what did you use as a measure of government productivity?