Cost and Optimization in Government: An Introduction to Cost Accounting, Operations Management, and Quality Control

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The careful management of costs and operations are two of the most essential elements of operating any successful organization, public or private. While the private sector is driven by profit-maximizing incentives to keep costs to a minimum, the public sector's mission and incentives look rather different: to provide a wide array of goods and services that often cannot be measured in precise monetary terms but are essential to maintain social order, improve public health, revitalize the economy, or improve the quality of life for its citizens. In other words, it is especially difficult for public decision makers to determine how resources may be most efficiently allocated for the welfare of the public. This book demonstrates that with a careful emphasis on cost accounting, operations management, and quality control, all organizations and governments can increase efficiency, improve performance, and be better prepared to weather hard times. The book is divided into three parts: Part I deals with cost basics, with an emphasis on basic cost concepts, cost behavior, cost analysis, cost accounting, and cost control. Part II examines optimization in costs and operations in government. Included in this category are traditional or classical optimization with applications in inventory management and queuing, followed by mathematical programming, games, and decisions. Finally, Part III looks at several special topics in cost and optimization, in particular those related to network analysis, productivity measurement, and quality control. Simple, accessible language and explanations are integrated throughout, and examples have been drawn from government so that readers can readily relate to them. Cost and Optimization in Government is required reading for practicing public managers and students of public administration in need of a clear, concise guide to maximizing public resource efficiency.