A Third Generation of Performance Contracting in Danish Central Government?

Mads Bøge Kristiansen


This paper compares the content of performance contracts in Danish central government over time in order to identify whether and how it develops. The analysis is conducted as a mixed methods study in two steps. First, a quantitative study was carried out based on a study of all performance contracts in Danish central government in 2002, 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2014. For each year all performance contracts have been coded according to the number and type of targets included in them. Hereafter, a range of qualitative interviews were carried out, and recommendations from the Ministry of Finance were consulted in order to improve the understanding of the results of the quantitative analysis and the development patterns.


The paper shows a general decrease in the number of performance targets per contract and a change in the relative share of different types of targets over time. During the period studied the share of outcomes has increased, targets oriented towards activities have decreased, and targets for internal development and management decreased in the mid-2000s, and have increased again in recent years. On the basis of this it is argued that performance contracting in Danish central government now have entered a third generation.

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Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration

School of Public Administration, Box 712 - SE-405 30 Göteborg

ISSN: 2001-7405, E-ISSN: 2001-7413