The most recent issue of Public Administration Review includes a symposium on “Exploring the Value of Public Value,” which is edited by my University of Minnesota colleagues, John Bryson, Barbara Crosby, and Laura Bloomberg. While not specifically about Extension, my contribution to the symposium, “Creating Public Value with Tax and Spending Policies: The View from Public Economics,” uses Extension as an example of the public value approach in practice.
In the Building Extension’s Public Value workshop, we highlight three main ways Extension programs create public value. Programs address concerns about fairness, close an information gap, or encourage actions that benefit the greater community (or equivalently, discourage actions that impose costs on the community). Each of these can be thought of as a criterion or justification for public sector involvement.
The students in my recent lecture for the Penn State University Agricultural Extension and Education program asked me several useful questions. One was whether the public value message structure (below) implied that private benefits can only be accrued after condition changes have occurred. Note that the thin, black arrow leading to the participant’s private benefits implies exactly this.