OECD Journal on Budgeting

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.

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A Balancing Act

Fiscal Responsibility, Accountability and the Power of the Purse

In recent years a greater demand for strengthening the role of the legislature in the budget process has become evident worldwide: more than a quarter of countries have revised their constitutions over the last 15 years to give Parliament more powers. In particular, several African countries are experiencing pressure to increase the legislature’s role in the preparatory stage of the budget process and as a check on the executive. This article argues that there are risks in allowing greater parliamentary activism, but that a greater risk is associated with marginalising the role of Parliament in the budget process. The article sets out options for designing a role for Parliament that allows it sufficient oversight, while managing the risks of ill-disciplined parliamentary action leading to excess spending or of Parliament becoming a conduit for narrow, ineffective spending demands.


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