False economies, Part 1: Decoding efficiency | LANDMARK REPORT | February 2013

'decoding efficiency' imageTranslating the jargon on public sector efficiency

CPD’s public service Research Director Christopher Stone contends that if we don’t want services to run down, we need to consider results as well as resources when measuring success. Politicians most often address this issue with promises of sweeping cuts, but what do they actually mean when they say ‘efficiency’?

Released April 2nd, Decoding efficiency translates the jargon and exposes errors that can actually lead to waste resulting from so-called ‘efficiency’ reforms.


‘Our public service suffers the plight of the anorexic: no matter how thin it gets there are voices saying it’s too fat. Do we really want a size zero government?’

Arguments for reform often revolve around the presumption that the private sector is necessarily more efficient and effective than the public. Is this always true? Decoding efficiency outlines six ways in which market models can ‘mess up’. It explains three different economic definitions of efficiency, and then illustrates how mere equations simply cannot fully account for success or failure in service delivery.

Especially in an election year, every Australian deserves to take part in this debate – because this is our money, being spent on us and the things that matter to us.

Download Decoding efficiency

This is the first in a series of instalments from CPD’s upcoming ‘False Economies‘ report, which will investigate counterproductive cutbacks and their alternatives.

Leave a Comment