Performance is a multidimensional concept that includes a broad range of assessments on the quality, quantity and effectiveness of outputs and outcomes. Public management studies have examined consistency across performance indicators and the correlation of different stakeholders’ performance assessments. However, little knowledge exists on managerial preferences over different types of performance indicators. This paper addresses this gap. We argue that public managers are susceptible to the type of monitoring exerted upon them when choosing the performance indicator by which they preferred to be assessed. To test these expectations, we conduct a survey experiment with 250 Colombian mayors, who are the executive and political leaders in Colombian municipalities. We present mayors a hypothetical situation in which their performance in either water service or education provision will be assessed. We manipulate the source of monitoring (whether a politically aligned regional government or the national government) and offer mayors the choice between indicators of cost effectiveness, outputs and outcomes. This research contributes a behavioral exploration of managerial preferences to the performance management literature.
Mr. Ricardo Bello-Gomez