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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Does budgeting have a future?

Budgeting is a work in progress. The process is never quite settled because those who manage it are never fully satisfied. To budget is to decide on the basis of inadequate information, often without secure knowledge of how past appropriations were used or of what was accomplished, or of the results that new allocations may produce. Most people involved in budgeting have experienced the frustration of having their preferences crowded out by the built-in cost of past actions. Budgeting is a deadline-driven process, in which sub-optimal decisions often are the norm because government does not have the option of making no decisions. When one cycle ends, the next begins, usually with little respite and along the same path that was trod the year before. The routines of budgeting dull conflict, but they also are a breeding ground for frustration.

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