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Government at a Glance 2015

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Government at a Glance 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, health and justice. Government at a Glance also includes indicators on key governance and public management issues, such as transparency in governance, regulatory governance, public procurement and the implementation of employment and remuneration reforms since 2009. 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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Cost benefit analysis of investment projects

Governments are faced with budget constraints and therefore should invest in those projects that represent the greatest benefits compared to costs. In addition, the presence of market failures, which are situations in which markets left on their own would produce inefficient results (e.g. monopolies), are commonly addressed by government intervention. Regardless of whether a project is carried out by traditional public provision, public-private partnerships, or others, its economic appraisal remains the responsibility of government. Cost benefit analysis (CBA) is a methodology with a long intellectual and practical history for estimating the ex ante desirability of a project. It is designed to demonstrate whether or not the long-term social benefits of a project are greater than its costs. In practice, it estimates the opportunity cost or benefit of goods and services and uses these accounting prices (or shadow prices) as a more appropriate signal than observed market prices, which may be distorted by a variety of reasons. Performance indicators are then computed; typically, a positive net present value of benefits over costs is required in order to conclude that ex ante a project is socially desirable.

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