Government at a Glance 2013

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Government at a Glance 2013 provides readers with a dashboard of key indicators assembled with the goal of contributing to the analysis and international comparison of public sector performance. Indicators on government revenues, expenditures, and employment are provided alongside key output and outcome data in the sectors of education and health. Government at a Glance also includes indicators on key governance and public management issues, such as transparency in governance, regulatory governance, new ways in delivering public services and HRM and compensation practices in the public service. While measuring government performance has long been recognized as playing an important role in increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the public administration, following the economic crisis and fiscal tightening in many member countries, good indicators are needed more than ever to help governments make informed decisions regarding tough choices and help restore confidence in government institutions.

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Fiscal balance and debt by level of government

Central governments share different degrees of sovereignty with sub-central governments. As a consequence those sub‑central governments may encounter diverse fiscal situations. Different political systems are characterised by varying degrees of autonomy at state and local levels to incur debt; sub-national governments are usually subject to tight fiscal rules, and, in particular, their capacity to incur debt is often limited. Liabilities from sub-national governments resulting from the need to finance deficits through borrowing are considered as debt of the sub-national governments. Even modest increases in debt by a large number of government entities (e.g. states or municipalities) may increase general government debt (across all levels of government), thereby affecting budget balances and potentially interest rates on public debt.

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