OECD Journal on Budgeting

The OECD Journal on Budgeting is published three times per year. It draws on the best of the recent work of the OECD Working Party of Senior Budget Officials (SBO), as well as special contributions from finance ministries, academics and experts in the field and makes it available to a wider community in an accessible format. The journal provides insight on leading-edge institutional arrangements, systems and instruments for the allocation and management of resources in the public sector.

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Fiscal Accountability Issues

National leaders under pressure are often tempted to consider shifting costs to other levels of government and to satisfy new demands for public services by passing mandates and costs to other levels of governments to finance new programmes. These new mandates take a variety of forms but have one central feature: they permit the national government leaders to claim credit without paying for the costs of their own initiatives. This article examines intergovernmental relationships and the various forms of mandates including direct-order mandates, grants, pre-emptions, and tax policy. The article discusses the arguments for mandates, trends in their use, and reforms to curb them. The roles of agency cost-benefit analysis and legislative information and deliberation are particularly important. JEL classification: H200, H300, H540, H710, H810.


Keywords: regulation, pre-emptions, grants, legislative action, tax policy, fiscal accountability, intergovernmental relationships, mandates
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