Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

Donald Moynihan

Donald Moynihan
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No longer with the La Follette School

Donald Moynihan served on the La Follette School faculty from 2005-2018 and as the school's director from 2016-18.

Moynihan's His research examines the application of organization theory to public management issues such as performance, budgeting, homeland security, election administration, and employee behavior. In particular, he studies the selection and implementation of public management reforms.

Professor Moynihan, who served as Associate Director from 2009-2012, has presented his research on public sector performance to policymakers at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. His book, The Dynamics of Performance Management: Constructing Information and Reform, was named best book by the Academy of Management's Public and Nonprofit Division and received the Herbert Simon award from the American Political Science Association, which honors the book with the most significant influence in public administration scholarship in the last three to five years. He created the Performance Information Project, which tracks research on performance management.

Moynihan also is the co-author of “Toward Next-Generation Performance Budgeting,” published by the World Bank. Moynihan's work has appeared in Nature, the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, and numerous other scholarly journals. In 2014, Moynihan was awarded the Kershaw Award, which is provided every two years by Mathematica and the Association of Public Policy and Management to one scholar under the age of 40 for outstanding contributions to the study of public policy and management. Journal articles Moynihan has authored have won awards from the Public and Nonprofit Division of the Academy of Management (2002), the American Review of Public Administration (2003), Public Administration Review (2007), and Public Administration (2013). Public Administration Review also selected two of his articles on leadership and motivation among the 75 most influential papers in its 75-year history.

On three occasions, Moynihan has won the American Society for Public Administration Wholey Award for outstanding scholarship on performance in public and nonprofit organizations (2009, 2011, and 2013). He won the 2011 National Academy of Public Administration/Wilder School award for scholarship in social equity. Moynihan received the 2012 Distinguished Research Award from ASPA and the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.

Moynihan is former co-editor of Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory and Public Administration Review. He is president of the Public Management Research Association. In 2011, he was elected to the National Academy of Public Administration.

A native of Ireland, Moynihan completed his bachelor of arts degree in public administration at the University of Limerick, and his master's and Ph.D. in public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. 

Current Course(s)

Other Resources

Administrative Burdens Workshop

Performance Information Project

Election Administration Research

Google Scholar Citations


"Between Policy and Management: Common Ground and Shared Opportunities," Donald P. Moynihan's 2014 Kershaw Award Lecture