Department of Political Science

A Comparative Distributional Method for Public Administration Illustrated Using Public Budget Data

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DOI

Many outputs and outcomes of relevance to public administration research are distributed in a way that escapes simple statistical descriptives. The field of public administration has generally been slow to acknowledge this fact, but in recent years the research field of public budgeting has experienced what we term a “distributional turn” reflected in a massive increase in publications studying distributions of changes in public budgets. Yet, distributional budget studies still rely on inadequate statistical methods. In this article, we introduce a comparative distributional method (CDM), which allows for inferential statistics and statistical modeling of distributions. It also allows for specification of parameter values that precisely characterize the empirical distribution. All this is important for systematic comparisons of empirical distributions. We illustrate the usefulness of the CDM approach by analyzing budget data from seven countries and conclude with a discussion of how this new method can be extended to other areas of public administration than public budgeting.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Volume29
Issue3
Pages (from-to)460-473
ISSN1053-1858
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

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