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Introduction

The main objective of the Government at a Glance series is to provide reliable and internationally comparable data on government activities and their results. The indicators in Government at a Glance are becoming themselves a measuring standard in many fields of public governance and have extended beyond OECD countries. By broadening the scope to other regions in the world, such as Western Balkans, the publication allows the countries and economies of the Western Balkan region to benchmark their governments’ performance within the region and in relation to the OECD and, specifically in this edition, the OECD-EU. In addition, it allows governments to track their own and international developments over time, and provides evidence to their public policy making. This publication covers six countries and economies of the Western Balkan region which are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.

Government at a Glance: Western Balkans recognises that governments are major actors in modern societies. Every citizen throughout his or her life interacts with governments from the issuance of birth certificates to the provision of health, education and social benefits. Furthermore, as societies reach higher development levels, expectations of quality public services tend to increase, while their objectives become more complex. Good governance is critical to long-term economic, social and environmental development. The ability of governments to operate effectively and efficiently depends in part on their management policies and practices.

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Indicators on government activities and public management practices

The Western Balkans are interested in collecting information to identify how public governance and, more specifically, public management practices contribute to a government’s ability to achieve its objectives. Government at a Glance: Western Balkans is built on the following framework, which describes the public “production” process and identifies five types of indicators: 1) contextual factors, 2) inputs, 3) processes, 4) outputs and (5) outcomes. The current edition includes indicators on all of these five areas.

Contextual factors

An online annex is available which presents contextual information describing some key features of the political and administrative structure of the six countries and economies of the Western Balkan region included in the publication. Situating policies and indicators within this contextual background can help us to better understand differences among countries and economies, and identify those with similar structures that might serve as better comparators for benchmarking purposes.

Inputs

Input indicators include data on government revenues, expenditures, employment and workforce characteristics. These are the main components of the inputs to government production function and provide insight into the incentives and constraints that governments face in determining what types of goods and services to provide. Furthermore, these data allow for a comparison of the proportion of the economy devoted to producing different goods and services, as well as the difference in the mix of inputs used for production. For instance, as labour is a key input in the government production process, the size of the public sector may affect government productivity and its capacity to provide goods and services.

Processes

Process indicators refer to the public management practices and procedures undertaken by governments to implement policies. They describe how governments implement policies and how inputs are transformed into outputs and outcomes. This first edition for the region contains information on processes such as budgeting, human resource management, public procurement and digital government practices to allow countries to evaluate the effects of recent reforms, and identify new strategies to improve productivity. For example, effective human resource management is key for aligning people management with the strategic goals of public sector organisations. Furthermore, digital government can improve government efficiency and effectiveness and increase public trust by using new technologies to boost the quality and tailor the provision of public services.

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Figure 1. Conceptual framework for Government at a Glance: Western Balkans
Figure 1. Conceptual framework for Government at a Glance: Western Balkans

Indicators of outputs and outcomes

The dividing line between outputs and outcomes can be blurry. While outputs refer to the quantity and type of goods and services produced by governments, outcomes show the effects of policies and practices on citizens and businesses. The success of a given policy should be measured, at a first stage, by outputs, but should ultimately be judged by the outcomes it achieves. Generally speaking, outcomes refer to the effects of public programmes and services on citizens, in terms of welfare gains, health gains, educational/learning gains, and so on. While these outcomes can certainly be affected by the quality of programmes and services provided, they can also be affected by other factors, such as the socio-economic background of the population and individual behavioural factors.

In Government at a Glance: Western Balkans, measures of outputs and outcomes are provided in two distinct chapters. Notably, chapter 9 on core government results focuses on whole-of-government aspects, and chapter 10 on serving citizens follows a sectoral approach to measuring the outputs and outcomes of public sector activities.

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Structure

Government at a Glance: Western Balkans starts with a chapter analysing the current public administration practices and reforms of the region in the view of the EU integration perspective. Chapters 2-10 provide data on the following areas of public administration: Public Finance and Economics, Public Employment, Institutions, Budgeting Practices and Procedures, Human Resources Management, Public Procurement, Digital Government, Core Government Results, and Serving Citizens.

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All data and indicators are accessible online

All data collected by the OECD Public Governance Directorate for the production of Government at a Glance: Western Balkans are available online on the OECD website. Readers interested in using the data presented in this publication for further analysis and research are encouraged to consult the full documentation of definitions, sources and methods presented in the publication and online. This database includes both qualitative and quantitative indicators on public sector inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes.

Metadata, Legal and Rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

https://doi.org/10.1787/a8c72f1b-en

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