Public Management Review

21 Juni 2021

Lindermüller, D., Sohn, M., & Hirsch, B. (2021). Negative media reporting and its effects on performance information use in public spending. Public Management Review, (online first).

Abstract: Translating performance information about public services into spending allocations is difficult. Drawing on blame-avoidance theory, we propose that negative media reporting affects the rationale for spending public resources for public services. A process tracing laboratory experiment shows that negative media reporting increases the willingness to spend more money for public services, particularly on a relatively low-performing public service. Furthermore, we find that negative media reporting shifts participants’ attention in the predecisional information search process towards performance information on the relatively low-performing public service. The paper helps explain decision makers’ use and interpretation of performance information in spending allocations.