Taking Stock of the Volatility of Budget Transparency

Publication Type: Budget Briefs
August 2017 | By Paolo de Renzio, Daniel Hiller, and Suad Hasan, International Budget Partnership
The Volatility of Budget Transparency
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For citizens, civil society groups, and other actors interested in budget monitoring and analysis for advocacy and accountability purposes, having predictable access to budget information is essential. Fiscal accountability is greatly facilitated when governments can be relied upon to regularly and predictably publish budget documents and information across the different stages of the budget cycle. However, in some countries this is not the case. “Volatility” in the publication of budget documents — when the public availability of documents containing key budget information changes repeatedly over time — is a common occurrence across countries included in the International Budget Partnership’s Open Budget Survey.

This Budget Brief presents the results of a stock-taking study of existing evidence related to volatility in budget transparency across countries included in the Open Budget Survey, drawing on survey data between 2008 and 2016. To establish whether lack of institutionalization could be seen as one of the factors leading to volatility, the analysis of Open Budget Survey data on the public availability of budget documents — and how availability has evolved over time — is complemented by two other types of data that relate to the institutionalization of budget transparency practices: public finance management laws and the strength of government systems linked to the production of budget information.