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Government at a Glance: Latin America and the Caribbean 2017

image of Government at a Glance: Latin America and the Caribbean 2017

This second edition of Government at a Glance: Latin America and the Caribbean provides the latest available data on public administrations in the LAC region and compares it to OECD countries. It contains new indicators on public finances, centres of government, regulatory governance, open government, digital government and public procurement. This edition also includes a special feature on health budgeting.

After a decade of sustained economic growth reinforced by high commodity prices, economic conditions are deteriorating in the LAC region. In this context, LAC governments are expected to design and deliver more inclusive, transparent  and efficient policies. This report provides policy makers with performance measurements and offers comparative perspective. Good indicators are needed more than ever to help governments make informed decisions and tough choices, in order to  maintain progress and improvements in the region.

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General government fiscal and structural balance

The fiscal balance is the difference between government revenues and spending. This balance could be negative, resulting in a deficit, or positive, resulting in a surplus. Consecutive large fiscal deficits are strongly detrimental to the sustainability of public finances. When the level of outstanding debt is high, the cost of servicing that debt (interest payments) can push a country further into deficit, thereby hindering fiscal sustainability. Conversely, improvements in the fiscal balance over time signal good fiscal health. Improvements result from a combination of the following factors: political commitment to fiscal discipline, sound institutional arrangements for budgeting and/or favourable performance of the economy.

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Graphs

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