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Working paper

Peer Review in Public Sector Organizations: A General Model and Empirical Evidence from a Survival Analysis

In my paper I analyze why some top-level public administrators invite a peer review to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of their agencies while others do not. A peer review is a light-touch voluntary benchmarking exercise conducted by a group of critical friends (peers). I propose a general model from which I derive a series of hypotheses about the role of organizational size, performance gaps, peer effects and strategic interaction at individual and organizational-level decision making. For hypotheses tests I examine a unique dataset of participation in the Corporate Peer Challenge Program in England between 2010 and 2015. The estimation approach is survival analysis. I find that poor archival performance of a council and peer evaluations in neighboring councils are positively correlated with inviting a peer review. However, significance level of both effects is above 10 per cent