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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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Medium-term budget perspective

In order to improve fiscal discipline, many countries have adopted medium-term budget and/or expenditure frameworks that typically span between three and five years, including the budgeted fiscal year. The medium-term perspective may include estimates of revenues and expenditures and/or targets or ceilings for spending. It signals the direction of policy and funding changes and gives actors time to adjust. It also helps identify room in the budget that can be allocated for new and existing programmes. Thus, it can enable decision makers to consider the cost of competing programmes before they make funding decisions, while increasing the predictability of funding during programme implementation. OECD member countries that are members of the European Union are required to report medium-term objectives; however, legislatures may or may not incorporate these when formulating the budget.

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