Inequality, government performance, and trust in public managers

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Abstract

Inequality, trust, performance, and the future Although the lack of foresight in public management is noted in several contributions to this volume, there have been a few notable efforts by various intergovernmental organizations, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations, to identify socioeconomic and political trends that many argue threaten economic security and, perhaps, the maintenance of democratic politics in the coming decades. For example, the OECD’s The Future of Families to 2030 (2011), which was published by the OECD in their “International Futures Programme, "1 highlights growing poverty and the widening gap between rich and poor in a majority of developed countries around the world (see also OECD 2008). Although alternative scenarios are considered, the report concludes that the most likely outcome for the future is that “demographic trends may lead to a growing share of the population who are at risk of low income by 2030. . . [and] labour market trends imply that inequalities will grow with jobs being increasingly polarised into those that are highand low-skilled, and correspondingly paid” (Harkness 2011: 104). Although these economic changes were first in evidence in the 1970s (Harrison and Bluestone 1988; Atkinson et al. 1995; Mahler and Jesuit 2006), a continuation and, indeed, a worsening of economic disparities presents public managers with what many consider to be injustice. Significantly, many scholars also posit that the source of the recent financial and economic crisis itself was the widening gap in incomes that has developed in the United States and many other industrialized nations (Dowd 2009; Milanovic 2011). In short, growing income inequality and poverty might foster more volatility in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGovernance and Public Management
Subtitle of host publicationStrategic Foundations for Volatile Times
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Pages131-151
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781134496815
ISBN (Print)9780415704625
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

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