Investing Together

Working Effectively across Levels of Government

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Why 'investing together'? Public investment is not only a major strategic responsibility for governments but also a shared one: almost two-thirds of public investment is undertaken by sub-national governments and major projects tend to involve more than one government level. In a tight fiscal landscape, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of investment, while maximising its impact on growth outcomes, is paramount. Identifying and addressing the governance bottlenecks that impede smooth co-ordination across levels of government can make a significant contribution towards reaching that end.

This report dissects the relationships different government actors form vertically, across levels of government, and also horizontally, across both sectors and jurisdictions. It helps policy makers to understand more systematically how co-ordination works and why it so often doesn’t, as well as shedding light on the mechanisms countries have developed to govern these interactions. In doing so, it addresses another key requisite to organising co-ordination, namely government capacity. Sub-national actors, especially, need to be equipped with the right skills and resources to carry out their responsibilities and to engage with stakeholders, across the public, private and civil society sectors. This report offers a toolkit to policy makers to assess their needs for capacity development

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OECD countries devoted over USD 1 trillion to public investment in 2011, financing the provision of a wide range of essential public goods and services, including public transport, schools and hospitals. Such investments are critical to governments’ pursuit of growth, well-being, equity and environmental sustainability. Yet they are also under pressure: as OECD governments have moved to consolidate public finances, it has in most places proved far easier to cut investment rather than current expenditure, particularly wages and benefits. Enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of public investment is thus increasingly important, as governments seek to make the best use of increasingly limited resources.

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