26 Mar 2012
Public-private partnerships in Canadian health care
In recent years, the cost of delivering health care in developed and developing countries has been rising exponentially. Governments around the world are searching for alternative mechanisms to reduce costs while increasing the capacity of social programmes with significant investments in infrastructure. A number of jurisdictions have begun to utilise public-private partnerships (PPPs) as a means of achieving these objectives. The use of PPPs in the Canadian health system is a relatively new phenomenon. Generally, the success of PPP projects is evaluated on the basis of the qualitative outcomes of the project, most commonly in a value-for-money analysis.
26 Mar 2012
Budgeting in Montenegro
This article examines the budget process in Montenegro. After discussing some general legal, political and economic characteristics of the country, recent institutional reforms are surveyed. The section on the budget formulation process pays special attention to the budget structure and classification, the annual budget preparation cycle, medium-term planning, long-term fiscal sustainability, the organisation of the Ministry of Finance, and the funding of local government. Section 3 addresses the parliamentary approval process, including the role of the budget committee, the annual parliamentary budget cycle, and the impact of Parliament. Section 4 focuses on budget execution, in particular the organisation of the executive process, cash management, and reallocation. Section 5 looks at the supply side of the budget process – public administration and service delivery by the central government as well as by local governments – and at public procurement, public employment, the civil service, and the public enterprise sector. Section 6 examines accounting and audit, including financial reporting, internal audit and external audit.
26 Mar 2012
Fiscal rules and regime-dependent fiscal reaction functions
This article argues the case for a policy of "anchored flexibility" in the form of a flexible fiscal rule that allows for the pursuit of economic stability but always anchors that pursuit in fiscal sustainability. The rule is explicitly structured to be simple and is designed in analogy to the inflation-targeting framework. The article heeds the warning that consistently forecasting the output gap with any degree of precision is quite difficult, if not impossible, and thus proposes a target band for the deficit, instead of point targets for the overall deficit and the structural budget balance. To ensure fiscal sustainability over and above the contribution of the deficit rule, the article also proposes a band for the debt/GDP ratio. This debt rule acts as a negative feedback rule that stipulates the adjustments required in the deficit, should the actual debt/GDP ratio move outside the stipulated band. Since the government needs to change revenue and expenditure in order to change the deficit, the article then explores empirically whether and with how much revenue and expenditure in South Africa changed to maintain fiscal sustainability. More specifically the article explores various models of the fiscal reaction function to illuminate government behaviour in South Africa. These models consider how the deficit, expenditure and different types of revenue reacted to the debt/GDP ratio and the output gap to ensure fiscal sustainability. Lastly, the article considers measures that could enhance the automatic stabilisers, while simultaneously allowing for the maintenance of fiscal sustainability in the medium term.