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Government at a Glance 2011

image of Government at a Glance 2011

This second edition of Government at a Glance more than doubles the number of available indicators of OECD governments’ performance. The indicators compare the political and institutional frameworks of government across OECD countries as well as government revenues and expenditures, employment, and compensation. They also include indicators describing government policies and practices on integrity, e-government and open government, and introduce several composite indexes summarising key aspects of public management practices in human resources management, budgeting, procurement, and regulatory management. For each figure, the book provides a dynamic link (StatLink) which direct the user to a web page where corresponding data are available in Excel® format. The report also offers two special chapters, on leveraged governance and on the policy implications of fiscal consolidation.

The 58 data sets of member and partner countries in this 2011 edition of Government at a Glance include the first ever international comparison of public sector pay for selected professions and public service occupations, which points to a fairly egalitarian pay structure in the public sector;  estimations of country-specific fiscal consolidation requirements, which have been found to be large in many countries; the level of disclosure of private interests in the three branches of government; and  the implementation gap of Open Government policies to promote transparency, efficiency and trust.

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Fiscal sustainability

Ensuring long-term fiscal sustainability requires that governments engage in continual strategic forecasting of future liabilities and macroeconomic trends in order to adapt financial planning accordingly. Indeed, increasing debt levels are harmful to governments’ fiscal positions, and can cause a vicious cycle of growing debt and reduce potential for economic growth as funds are diverted away from productive investments. Currently however, many OECD countries face rising public debt-to-GDP ratios following the financial and economic crises, and there is a general consensus that the fiscal trajectory of most member countries is unsustainable. The costs associated with addressing the economic crisis, as well as projected increases in ageing-related spending, present difficult challenges for the sustainability of public finances.

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