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Sector Bias and the Credibility of Performance Information: An Experimental Study of Elder Care Provision
Public Administration Review  (IF5.257),  Pub Date : 2021-09-01, DOI: 10.1111/puar.13425
Kenneth J. Meier, Miyeon Song, Jourdan A. Davis, Anna A. Amirkhanyan

Reporting government performance to the public is key tool in improving accountability. Some evidence, however, has shown that individuals’ anti-public sector biases may distort performance information about public organizations. Using an experimental vignette on U.S. nursing homes, this study fills four gaps in the literature: (1) the need to include nonprofit organizations rather than just public and for-profit, (2) consideration of the credibility of the source of performance information, (3) the use of simple commonly used performance metrics, and (4) the willingness to use services as a performance dimension. We find the public has a general but modest anti-for-profit sector bias in nursing home care with nonprofits perceived the most positively. Sector biases generally disappear when clear performance data are presented. The credibility of the source matters, and respondents' willingness to use organizational services is more sensitive to both sector bias and performance ratings than are performance measures.