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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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General government expenditure by level of government

The responsibility for financing goods and services fall to different levels of government across OECD member countries. For example, in some countries, policing is the responsibility of local government while in others it falls to central authorities. However, these are also affected by a country’s institutional structure: when central governments in federal states share sovereignty with sub-central governments, those sub-central governments may have more power to shape policies and programmes.

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