Public Value Relates

Public values scholars look to a variety of sources for evidence of what the “public” is, wants, or is good for it. Sources include, for example, literature reviews, legislation, rules and regulations, and opinion polls. Meynhardt, as noted, relies on psycho logical theory to derive the dimensions against which public values can be assessed; he has developed and published results from the use of psychological questionnaires based on this work. Moulton looks to “public values institutions,” which can be of three types, with the three types presumed to differentially affect how public values are realized in practice. Regulatory institutions are legally sanctioned and can establish rules, surveillance mechanisms, and incentives to influence behavior. Normative-associative institutions help create expectations or norms that influence social life via prescriptive, evaluative, or obligatory guidance. Finally, cultural cognitive institutions help create shared conceptions of the nature of social reality and the frames used to create meaning. The three kinds of institutions are analytic constructs and can and do overlap in practice. Andersen, et al. look to archetypal forms of govern ance to derive the content of public values; the forms are hierarchy, clans or professions, networks, and markets.

How Public Value Relates to Other Concepts Part of public value’s importance is that it encompasses and goes beyond several other venerable concepts that highlight the proper ends and means of government and broader public action. Among these are the public interest, the common good, public goods, and commonwealth. Public interest originally was associated with the state, not with the public sphere more generally, and thus typically refers to the reasons for, or consequences of, govern

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ment action. Beyond that, attempts to operationalize the public interest have proved difficult, although not necessarily in the case of apply ing relatively clear public laws and regulations to specific decisions. Vagueness and difficulties of operationalization also plague related terms such as the common good. Public goods refers to production of non-rival, non-excludable goods and services. Public value differs in three ways: First, it includes remedies to market failures beyond inadequate provision of public goods, along with the institutional arrangements that make the remedies possible. This fits clearly with Bozeman’s view. Public goods are outputs and public value includes the outcomes made possible by public goods. This fits well with Moore’s view. Finally, public value has value for the valuer, which accords well with Meynhardt’s approach.¬†Probably commonwealth comes closest to capturing the meaning of public value, since the term originally meant “common well-being.