Government Effectiveness Index: A Cross-State Survey
Author: James Stergios, Director of Research, Pioneer Institute
The central objective of the Government Effectiveness Index (GEI) is to assess how Massachusetts is doing in comparison to other states. It seeks to provide measures of effectiveness based on the efficient use of resources (inputs as a function of quantity or output) and on performance outcomes (quality of output). It does so in regard to eight “core” functions of state government (functions common to most states): K-12 educa- tion, higher education, highways, transit, state police, the judiciary, corrections, and financial administration. This first edition tests the GEI model on a sample set of six states: Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Virginia. We chose the first four com- parison states on the basis of their similarities to Massachusetts: climate, presence of industry, political culture with a commitment to organized labor, and, to some extent, geography. Virginia was included in part because of its specific differences from the other five states, but mainly because of its reputation for being a well-managed state. The restriction to six states is not a matter of principle or conception. Future editions will seek to incorporate changes spurred by the comments of readers; if feasible, we may seek to increase the number of states in the GEI sample.