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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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General government debt

When expenditures exceed revenues, governments need additional resources to finance their deficits, consequently they borrow money and increase the level of public debt. Changes in debt over time reflect the behaviour of past fiscal balances; recurring large deficits will result in higher debt levels. On the contrary, a succession of surpluses will reduce debt levels. In general, the higher a government’s liabilities, the higher the perceived probability by markets of a government defaulting on loans and therefore the higher risk premium required by the market, which in turn, raises the cost of debt.

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