The aim of this paper is to study the connection between the concept of public value and the evolution of the governance mechanisms in public sector from a dual perspective. First, the analysis will focus this connection from a theoretical point of view. Therefore, the different implications of the concept of public value and its possible measurement and reporting processes will be considered in relation with the advancement of the context of public administration in the last twenty years, starting approximately from the date of publication of the well-known work of Mark H. Moore (1995). Specifically, one of the most important changes in public administration can be connected to the evolution of the forms of governance, with the development of concepts like new public governance and co-governance. Second, this work aims at considering from an empirical point of view the concrete application of a specific form of co-governance: participatory governance, where the public administration involves (or should involve) directly the citizens in the decision-making processes. Therefore, participatory governance emerges as a steering paradigm for the promotion of civic engagement, able to realize the creation of public value. The empirical analysis focused on the practices of participatory governance realized by medium-high size municipalities in Italy. The emerging picture presents some difficulties encountered by the municipalities in the process of implementation of participatory governance and a high rate of abandonment of these practices, only a few years after their first application. The processes of recognizing, measuring and reporting public value, in this context, are often poorly supported or absent. This paper attempts to reflect on the reasons that led to the detected difficulties of application, even in light of the conceptual model of public value creation.
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