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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 sustainability

Fiscal sustainability is the ability of a government to maintain public finances at a credible and serviceable position over the long term. Ensuring long-term fiscal sustainability requires that governments engage in continual strategic forecasting of future revenues and liabilities, environmental factors and socio-economic trends in order to adapt financial planning accordingly. High and increasing debt levels are harmful to governments’ fiscal positions and can cause a vicious cycle of growing debt, reducing the potential for economic growth as funds are diverted away from productive investments. Many OECD member countries continue to face rising public debt-to-GDP ratios since the financial and economic crisis. The costs associated with addressing the current economic slowdown, as well as projected increases in ageing-related spending, present serious challenges for the sustainability of public finances.

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