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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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General government structural balance

The structural or underlying fiscal balance is the difference between government revenues and expenditures corrected by the effects that could be attributed to the economic cycle and one off events. This indicator aims to capture structural trends in order to assess whether the fiscal policy of a country is expansionary, neutral or restrictive for a given period. In fact, government revenues and expenditures are highly sensitive to economic developments. For example, during an economic downturn, cyclical deficits result in lower revenues while at the same time public spending increase as higher unemployment determine additional spending on unemployment benefits. In consequence, eliminating the fluctuations occurred in the economies enable policy makers to identify the underlying trend of fiscal policies that are associated with the sustainability of public finances in the long run.

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