Fiscal Design Surveys across Levels of Government

The relationship between different levels of government is one that is continually under review. Policy-makers ensure the expenditure and revenue functions of each tier of government with a view to balancing efficiency, equity and democratic considerations. Over the last decade, the tendency in a number of countries has been to decentralise both expenditure and revenue functions to lower levels of government. Greater autonomy in raising revenues has been given to intermediate and local levels of government.

Setting up of local fiscal systems and intergovernmental financial relations involves multiple and often conflicting economic and political objectives. Practically, it is one of the most complex reform processes in the area of public finance and one that is permanently on the political agenda of both OECD countries and economies in transition. Yet there is no international, comparative set of information available to support this process. The international comparable statistics on revenue of local autonomy and the design of national fiscal control are either lacking or insufficient.

This study summarises the overall substantial and methodological framework of a project on fiscal design, which has been carried with the OECD. The results and comparative findings of the OECD Fiscal Design surveys are reported too. The surveys took place in six countries in Central and Eastern Europe: three OECD Member countries, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, and the three Baltic States, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

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