Margaret Hughes and Robert T. Golembiewski Professor of Public Administration Professor of Public Administration and PolicyPhD Program Director, Department of Public Administration & Policy

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Willoughby has spent the last 30 years teaching, conducting research, and consulting regarding public management, budgeting, and finance. She has internationally recognized expertise in the legal foundations, use, and effects of performance budgeting on U.S. state management, budgets, and finances. Her 2001 book, co-authored with Dr. Kurt Thurmaier (Northern Illinois University), examines the relationship between budgeting and policy development on the part of analysts employed in executive budget offices in 11 U.S. state governments in the South and Midwest. She served as grading team leader of budget and financial management for two iterations of the Government Performance Project, a national research effort funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts that examined management in the 50 American states. Her 2014 book, co-edited with Dr. Marilyn Rubin (Rutgers), assesses revenues, expenditures, and debt management in state governments. Her sole-authored 2014 book, Public Budgeting in Context, examines budgeting at every level of government in the United States, compared to such practices in six other countries worldwide. Her most recent book, Public Performance Budgeting: Principles and Practice, co-authored with Dr. Elaine Y. Lu (CUNY) studies the use of this budget reform by juvenile justice agencies in states with performance budgeting law. Dr. Willoughby has taught graduate courses in public management, budgeting and finance, financial management, and research methods, as well as undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral courses in public budgeting and finance. Dr. Willoughby has an extensive background in consulting with and training of numerous management, budget, finance, and other government officials from around the globe regarding budgeting and management best practices. Dr. Willoughby is also a National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) fellow.

  • Ph.D, Public Administration, University of Georgia-Athens, 1991
  • MPA, North Carolina State University, 1984
  • BS, Psychology, Duke University, 1980
More About

Podcast with the IBM Center for The Business of Government discussing my co-authored report with Dr. Sarah Beth Gehl (The Roosevelt Institute, New York) and Dr. Komla Dzigbede (SUNY, Binghamton)

Guest spot on “Central Time” with Wisconsin Public Radio discussing the Biden Administration and Getting the Economy Up and Running

Areas of Expertise
  • Public management
  • Performance management
  • Public budgeting and finance
  • Financial management
Honors, Awards, and Achievements
  • Aaron B. Wildavsky Award, 2016. Presented for lifetime scholarly achievement in the field of public budgeting and finance by the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management at the annual conference of the ABFM, Seattle, Washington.
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award, 2006. Presented for career distinction by the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Faculty Achievement Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1993. Presented for outstanding teaching by the Executive Committee, College of Public and Urban Affairs, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia.
  • NASPAA Dissertation Award, 1991. The Decision Making Orientations of State Government Budget Analysts: Rational or Intuitive Thinkers?  Presented for outstanding scholarship by the Executive Council, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Robert T. Golembiewski Award, 1990. Presented to outstanding doctoral student in Public Administration by Georgia Students for Public Administration, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.
  • William Block Award, 1985. Presented to outstanding graduate student by the Department of Political Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina.

American Society of Public Administrators, ASPA

Association for Budgeting and Financial Management, ABFM

National Academy of Public Administration, NAPA

Research Interests


My research concentrates on practice and reform in public budgeting and management, both here and abroad. I have investigated public budgetary decision making as well as the context of public budgeting in order to understand the predictors of budgeting results. I am interested in continuing to study these areas of public administration in order to inform theory through the production of enlightening frameworks, as well as to contribute to practice that strengthens governments and their ability to solve public problems.

Selected Publications


Willoughby, Katherine G. (2014). Public Budgeting in Context: Structure, Law, Reform and Results. Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Willoughby, Katherine G. and Marilyn M. Rubin, editors. (2014). Sustaining the States: The Fiscal Viability of American State Governments. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Publishers.

Thurmaier, Kurt and Katherine G. Willoughby (2001). Policy and Politics in State Budgeting. M.E. Sharpe Publishers.

Journal Articles

Lu, Yi and Katherine Willoughby (2015). “Performance Budgeting in American States: A Framework of Integrating Performance with Budgeting.” International Journal of Public Administration vol. 38, no. 8: 562-572.

Gehl, Sarah Beth, Katherine G. Willoughby and Michael J. Bell (2013). “Pension Reform in Atlanta: Funding Past Promises in an Uncertain Future.” Public Budgeting & Finance vol. 33, no. 2: 1-21.

Lu, Yi, Katherine Willoughby and Sarah Arnett (2011). “Performance Budgeting in the American States: What’s Law Got to Do with It?” State and Local Government Review vol. 43, no. 2: 79-94.

Melkers, Julia and Katherine G. Willoughby (2005). “Models of Performance Measurement Use in Local Governments: Understanding Budgeting, Communication and Lasting Effects,” Public Administration Review (March/April) vol. 65, no. 2: 180-190.

Willoughby, Katherine G. (2004). “Performance Budgeting and Budget Balancing: State Government Perspective,” Public Budgeting & Finance (Summer) vol. 24, no. 2: 21-39.

Willoughby, Katherine G., Ross Rubenstein, and Russ Lipari (2001). “Revenue Sources of Palestinian Municipalities: Finance Officers Explain Reality and Possibilities,” International Public Management Review vol. 2, no. 1: 53-72.

Willoughby, Katherine G. and Julia Melkers (2000). “Implementing PBB: Conflicting Views of Success.” Public Budgeting & Finance (Spring) vol. 20, no. 1: 105-120.

Melkers, Julia and Katherine G. Willoughby (1998). “The State of the States: Performance-Based Budgeting Requirements in 47 Out of 50,” Public Administration Review (January/February) vol. 58, no. 1: 66-73.

Willoughby, Katherine G. and Mary A. Finn (1996). “Decision Strategies of the Legislative Budget Analyst: Economist or Politician?” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory (October) vol. 6, no. 4: 523-546.

Willoughby, Katherine G. (1993). “Decision Making Orientations of State Government Budget Analysts: Rationalists or Incrementalists?” Public Budgeting and Financial Management (Winter) vol. 5, no. 1: 67-114.