OECD Journal on Budgeting

Frequency :
3 times a year
1681-2336 (online)
1608-7143 (print)
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The OECD journal on public sector budgeting, published three times per year. It draws on the best of the recent work of the OECD Working Party of Senior Budget Officials (SBO), as well as special contributions from finance ministries, and makes it available to a wider community in an accessible format. The journal provides insight on leading-edge institutional arrangements, systems and instruments for the allocation and management of resources in the public sector. Now published as a part of the OECD Journal subscription package.

Also available in: French

Latest Articles Hide / Show all Abstracts

Mark Number Date Article Volume and Issue Click to Access
  12 Oct 2015 What are budgeting's purposes?
Joseph White

OECD’s Recommendation of the Council on Budgetary Governance makes a substantial contribution to discussion of good budgetary practice by synthesising much common understanding while updating it to recognise some lessons from the experience of the Great Recession. Yet its implicit understanding of the purposes of budget processes has weaknesses both as policy and political analysis. The policy understanding overemphasises the importance of budget totals relative to budget details. The political understanding is as top-down as the policy view. Although budgets might be seen as contracts between citizens and the state, in a representative system they are better seen as treaties among citizens negotiated through politics. The Recommendation barely recognizes the existence of and challenges from political conflict.

JEL classification: H00, H60, H61
Keywords: Balance, fiscal policy, information, representation, top-down, United States

Volume 14 Issue 3 Click to Access: 
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  • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/governance/what-are-budgeting-s-purposes_budget-14-5jrtl4wnr8zw
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  12 Oct 2015 Time to look again at accrual budgeting
OECD, Ken Warren

A large number of countries are implementing accrual reporting to provide better accountability for the stewardship of public finances to their citizens. Far fewer nations have moved to an accrual basis for their government budgetary decisionmaking. Those few countries that have made the move do not regret doing so, having achieved significant benefits from that reform. This paper looks again at the benefits of accrual budgeting, at some of the major arguments that have impeded its international implementation, and how those issues have been addressed in the countries that have successfully adopted accrual budgeting. It suggests that the international public financial management community should revisit accrual budgeting, and that efforts to implement it should be redoubled, not because it is a panacea for all budgeting and fiscal problems, but rather because it provides a stable foundation for improving fiscal and budgetary decision-making and for providing fairer and more complete budgetary information to citizens.

JEL Classification: H10, H11, H61, H83
Key words: Accrual budget, accrual report, fiscal management, fiscal performance, public finance, accountability

Volume 14 Issue 3 Click to Access: 
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  • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/governance/time-to-look-again-at-accrual-budgeting_budget-14-5jrw6591hj6c
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  12 Oct 2015 The whole elephant
Timothy C. Irwin

Although the budget deficit is much discussed in political debate and economic research, there is no agreement on how it should be measured. There are at least four options, which can be called the cash deficit, the financial deficit, the full-accrual deficit, and the comprehensive deficit. Each is informative, but each has problems of relevance or reliability. Some are more vulnerable to manipulation involving assets and liabilities that are unrecognised in the underlying accounting, others to manipulation involving the mismeasurement of recognised assets and liabilities. Governments should publish all four in a form that reveals their interrelationships.

JEL classification: H6, H61, H62
Keywords: Accrual accounts, comprehensive accounts, liabilities, budget deficit

Volume 14 Issue 3 Click to Access: 
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  • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/governance/the-whole-elephant_budget-14-5jrw6591hns1
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  12 Oct 2015 Study of public financial management systems for two Asian regional groups
Jaideep Kumar Mishra

This paper presents assessments of Public Financial Management (PFM) Systems for two regional Asian groups – the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Association for South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). The study undertaken uses the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) results for assessment of the performance of PFM systems of countries both within and across the two regions for the six PEFA framework dimensions. This paper also presents results of the study for comparing regional performance with global averages for various PEFA indicators to identify strengths and weaknesses. An in-depth analysis of the PEFA assessments was also done to identify key features and initiatives undertaken by the countries where strengths in PFM system indicators was identified, and recommendations made, for countries moving on the path of PFM reforms for performance improvement.

Volume 14 Issue 3 Click to Access: 
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  • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/governance/study-of-public-financial-management-systems-for-two-asian-regional-groups_budget-14-5jrw9czdg326
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  12 Oct 2015 Performance budgeting in Korea
Nowook Park, Joung-Jin Jang

This paper tries to shed light on the Korean performance budgeting (PB) system by analysing its strength and limitations by utilising the framework of the OECD 2011 PB survey. It provides an overview of the Korean PB system and describes the Korean system based on the OECD survey results. Lastly, current issues of the Korean PB system are discussed including its future directions.

JEL classification: H61, H830
Keywords: Performance budgeting, performance information, budgeting, Korea

Volume 14 Issue 3 Click to Access: 
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  • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/governance/performance-budgeting-in-korea_budget-14-5jrtl4wnm1r5
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  12 Oct 2015 It's spending that matters
Fred Thompson

The problems caused by state and local revenue volatility are inherently challenging. Oregon has an especially volatile revenue structure, which can cause all sorts of problems as the state moves through the business cycle. Nevertheless, we have concluded that these problems are caused less by revenue volatility per se than by adjusting spending up and down to match current revenue flows, from growing spending at unsustainable rates during booms and cutting back precipitously during busts. The mild recession of 2001-02 had a particularly severe aftermath in Oregon. This event shocked the state’s policy makers into addressing the revenue volatility issue, making sense of it, and taking steps that greatly mitigated the adverse effects of the "Great Recession". This article describes three things: the public-policy processes that produced this moderately happy outcome, my own voyage of discovery as I observed/participated in these processes, and a set of practical mechanisms states can use to stabilise spending.

JEL classification: H11, H20, H70
Keywords: Oregon, Great Recession, cash flows, income taxes, revenue volatility

Volume 14 Issue 3 Click to Access: 
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  • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/governance/it-s-spending-that-matters_budget-14-5jrtl4wnp3mn
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  12 Oct 2015 A study on compilation and improvement of indices for legislative budgetary institutions
Chunsoon Kim

Legislative budget institutions are established and operated in different forms according to the various political and social experiences and financial circumstances of each country. Note, however, that research studies on the causes thereof are not only few in number but also focus mostly on the fact that legislative budget institutions are determined according to the "form of government". In this light, this study establishes the comparison and analysis of the legislative budget institution of each country.
The implication of this study is as follows. Firstly, this study approaches the Legislature’s capacity from a comprehensive and three-dimensional point of view in order to compile sub-indices of each legislative budgetary institution index. In other words, this study is to approach the financial authority vested to the Legislature and the Legislature’s capacity to exercise such authority from a comprehensive point of view in measuring such indices.
Secondly, the accuracy of indices in this study has been improved by deriving relative weighting for sub-indices of each legislative budgetary institution index through AHP questionnaire surveys and analyses. In other words, AHP analysis can ensure the practicality and accuracy of measurement of indices and present a scheme to compile more universal and relevant indices. It is, however, necessary to consider sub-indices such as elements of legal system and related agencies. Also this study has a limitation in that it fails to fully explain the actual conditions of operation of institutions in the unique political, social, and economic settings of each country.

JEL Classification: H11, H50, H83
Keywords: Legislative Budget Institution, Legislative Budget Institution Index, AHP

Volume 14 Issue 3 Click to Access: 
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  • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/governance/a-study-on-compilation-and-improvement-of-indices-for-legislative-budgetary-institutions_budget-14-5jrw6591frbw
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  27 Mar 2015 Budget Review: Germany

Budgeting in Germany at the federal level is conducted in the basis of a well-developed legal, constitutional and administrative framework. The German budget process is robust and encompasses all elements of modern budgeting with significant reforms continuously being implemented . As a result, Germany has achieved an enviable fiscal performance in recent years. Surprisingly, little literature and research is available on the German budget process internationally. GOV/BUD's recently conducted budget review of Germany aims to present a concise overview of budgeting in Germany.

Volume 14 Issue 2 Click to Access: 
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  • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/governance/budget-review-germany_budget-14-5jrw4sxb32q4
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  22 Dec 2014 The abuse and misuse of the term "Austerity" Implications for OECD countries
Barry Anderson, Elizabeth Minneman

Austerity has become a widely used term in economic research and popular media as many countries have recently implemented deficit reduction policies. This article begins by exploring definitions of austerity used in research and the ways these different definitions impact analysis of policy effects. The article then takes into account a number of factors that can affect the outcome of these so-called austerity measures, including economic conditions, time period, and parties impacted by the policies. Without a clear definition of austerity and the contexts under which it is implemented, a conclusive analysis of austerity’s effects cannot be conducted. This article concludes that the term "austerity" will remain a confusing term that can breed misunderstanding, social uprisings, political unrest, and ill-prescribed solutions to economic problems.

JEL classification: H10, H12, H41, H60
Keywords: Austerity, spending cuts, deficits, tax increases, recession

Volume 14 Issue 1 Click to Access: 
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  • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/governance/the-abuse-and-misuse-of-the-term-austerity-implications-for-oecd-countries_budget-14-5jxrmdxc6sq1
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  22 Dec 2014 The challenge of budgeting for healthcare programmes
Joseph White

The OECD has created a Joint Network on Fiscal Sustainability of Health Systems. This article, developed as input to that project, seeks to summarise both why budgeting for healthcare is particularly challenging and why the challenge is often misunderstood. I argue that sustainability is a political, not fiscal, issue; that common explanations of increased spending, such as "ageing" and "technology", are either inaccurate or unhelpful; and that the nature of public support for healthcare means that standard budgetary worldviews may not be appropriate in a representative system. For example, both a focus on "fiscal space" and distrust of dedicated revenues may be contrary to budgetary values of both representation and balance. I offer explanations of why demand for healthcare spending both is peculiarly intense and tends to expand because notions of "necessary" care expand. Budget-making is made more difficult by a uniquely confusing proliferation of ideas about how to control spending, many of which are supported more by disciplinary biases than by hard evidence. I conclude by considering the impact of two structural features: whether services are delivered by a bureau or as an entitlement, and whether it is funded by dedicated revenues. The challenges can be met, but hardheaded and sceptical budget analysis is especially important.

JEL classification: H51, H6, E62, H2, I1, J11, O33, P16, Z18
Keywords: Budgeting, healthcare spending, ageing society, Baumol’s disease, dedicated revenues, efficiency, entitlements, redistribution, technology, unsustainability

Volume 14 Issue 1 Click to Access: 
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  • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/governance/the-challenge-of-budgeting-for-healthcare-programmes_budget-14-5jxst2mfm923
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