Government at a Glance 2009

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The actions and policies of government touch our daily lives in countless ways. Quantifying and measuring government actions can help leaders make better decisions, and can help to hold government accountable to its citizens. 

Government at a Glance is a new, biennial publication of the OECD providing over 30 indicators describing government performance. It compares the political and institutional frameworks of government across OECD countries, as well as government revenues, expenditures and employment. It also includes indicators describing government policies and practices in integrity, e-government and open government, and introduces several composite indexes summarising key aspects of public management practices in human resource management, budgeting and regulatory management. For each figure, the book provides a dynamic link (StatLink) which directs the user to a web page where the corresponding data are available in Excel® format.

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Decentralisation of employment

The proportion of government staff employed at subcentral levels is a potential indicator of the level of decentralisation of public administration and the level of responsibility accorded to state and/or local governments. In general, the larger the staff at subcentral levels, the more responsibilities these governments would be expected to have for providing public services. While decentralisation is generally thought to improve government response to local needs and priorities, it can lead to differences between central and sub-central government interests and human resource management practices, as well as variations in service delivery within countries.

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