The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) requires agencies to compile “strategic plans” that establish goals for evaluating their performance. Agencies devote thousands of hours to complying with the statute annually, but these efforts have a surreal quality, typically failing to acknowledge the impediments that produce regulatory failure. This chapter argues that performance must be measured based on positive metrics that invite a diagnosis of the impediments that prevent agencies from achieving their statutory missions. It begins with an examination of how national policy agendas get set. It then analyzes why the GPRA and other similar efforts have failed. This is followed by a discussion of the key attributes of positive metrics.
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