What makes governments change?

May 19, 2009

In an interview about the current controversy about parliamentarians’ expenses, a British journalist declared that it was just the shame and embarrasment generated by media coverage that motivated the government to deal with the unfolding scandal. How to move governments is one of the key questions that citizens and civil society organisations (CSOs) ask themselves. […]

Why is your government not more transparent?

Apr 24, 2009

Here is a question to YOU: Why isn’t your government more transparent with regard to its budget? Let us have your thoughts here on the blog,  in the Facebook group, on Twitter or at openbudgets@gmail.com The Open Budget Initiative recently reported on the budget transparency of 85 countries. You will find a completed questionnaire on budget […]

Transparency and Accountability: What you thought

Apr 20, 2009

We received some fascinating responses to the question about the link between transparency and accountability. Most people thought that more  transparency could lead to greater  accountability, but that this was by no means an automatic process. A number of political/contextual factors play a role in whether this happens or not. Here are some of your responses: Tiago […]

Transparency and Participation/Accountability?

Apr 09, 2009

I was wondering if there is any research out there on the correlation or not between transparency & participation/accountability? Any data/case studies that show that: 1. Improvements in transparency lead to more participation 2. Improvements in participation lead to more transparency 3. These two are not related, so you need to work on both if […]

What is happening to Official Development Assistance?

Apr 08, 2009

Perplexed by the debates and transformations in official development assistance? Can’t tell your Paris declaration from Accra? And wondering where China and private foundations fit into all of this? Aa nice paper just published by Jean-Michel Severino and Olivier Ray for the Center for Global Development will help you make more sense. Here’s how they summarise the paper. […]

(How) does budget support build domestic accountability?

Mar 27, 2009

A few weeks ago, William Easterly published a characteristic attack on DFID’s  promotion of general budget support on his Aidwatch blog entitled  Why Does British Foreign Aid Prefer Poor Governments Over Poor People? He argues that DFID gives budget support to countries with poor indicators of democracy, human rights and corruption. If one of the […]

The roll of shame: Governments that won’t tell the public what they spend money on

Mar 03, 2009

The 2008 Open Budget Index reports that 25 of the 85 countries that it surveyed, provide no or minimal information to the public about the money that they spend. Why does the public need to know what governments spend? Budgets only tell us what governments plan to spend. Not what they actually spend. Many governments […]

Will the democratic crisis be ‘outed’ by the financial crisis?

Feb 12, 2009

One of the preoccupations of the development community is the existence of a link between good governance practices and economic growth: the so-called ‘democratic dividend’.  While it is never that simple, the argument goes that democratic and standard economic reforms will be rewarded with investment, aid and ultimately sustained growth. Some have also argued that […]

Budget Transparency: governments could easily do more

Feb 05, 2009

Eighty percent of the world’s governments fail to provide adequate information for the public to hold them accountable for managing their money, according to an extensive new report by the International Budget Partnership (IBP). Nearly 50 percent of 85 countries whose access to budget information was carefully evaluated by the IBP provide such minimal information […]

The death of MTEFs?

Dec 01, 2008

The PFM Blog has been hosting a fascinating debate on the challenges and uses of Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks (MTEF). This debate is highly topical because MTEFs have been part of the unquestioned recipe for budget reform in poor countries for more than ten years. The debate started as a slightly esoteric domestic dispute between […]