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 Principal-Agent Theory Approach to Public Expenditure Management Systems in Developing Countries

A well-functioning public expenditure management system is considered a critical pillar of government efficiency. This article discusses PEM systems in developing countries using an analytical framework based on principal-agent theory. This simple model can be applied to various PEM systems and allows for comparisons between institutional settings. To illustrate this, the authors analyse the benefits derived from the use by the ministry of finance of ex post audits and ex ante controls, and assess their value in terms of their ability to deter cheating. The authors derive a set of possible “control regimes” which can be used by the ministry of finance.


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