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Measuring Outcomes of Digital Transformation in Public Administration: Literature Review and Possible Steps Forward

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Digital transformation is the modern mainstream of social and economic development promising significant digital dividends to citizens and businesses worldwide. The theory highlights the importance of digitalization for optimizing the public value of government services for citizens; however, despite the high enthusiasm about the prospects of digital transformation in public administration, there is little literature on measuring actual benefits this process might provide to all stakeholders concerned.

While some recent research suggests high correlation between governance indicators and e-government development, the causality between the two is not confirmed statistically for most public administration indicators. International indices used to measure government digitalization (such as the UN E-Government Development Index) often concentrate only on e-services and are based on measuring the availability rather than the actual use or quality of such modes of service delivery; they concentrate more on measuring G2C and, to some extent, G2B interactions and often omit the effects of digitalization for the G2G and G2E dimensions. The EU Digital economy and society index (DESI) is one of the most advanced cases for measuring the progress of digitalization in the EU, but even in this case the costs of digitalization and potential risks of digital government are not fully accounted for.

The paper provides an extensive review of theoretical and practical approaches to measuring government digitalization, identifies key limitations and proposes some steps for enhancing the existing practices. The paper argues that government digital transformation should not be performed for its own sake but should be a means for raising effectiveness and efficiency of public administration. Therefore, both benefits and risks of digital transformation of performing all core government functions for various stakeholders (citizens, businesses, government itself, and public officials) should be accounted for.

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Sujets de la revue:
Social Sciences, Political Science, Local Government and Administration