Winter 2013
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The Public Manager

The Difference Between Spending Money and 'Buying' Outcomes

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The government is a 'crappy' venture capitalist," said Larry Summers, then President Barack Obama's top economic adviser, in a 2009 email. This may or may not be true, but most venture capitalists would be pretty bad, too, if they had no systematic way to evaluate investments and no way to measure their returns.

The lack of measurement may be the single greatest challenge facing state governments today. Arbitrarily "guessing" at which policies and programs work, or me


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