Program Budgets

Program budgeting is about making budgets more transparent, ensuring that public money is spent on the right priorities, and linking budgets more closely to the purposes of spending. Our work on program budgets, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), examines global practices related to budget program structure in health to shed light on how governments define program objectives as part of their broader quest to shift budgeting towards results that matter to citizens.


Program Budget Structure in the Health Sector: A Review of Program-Based Budgeting Practices in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Program-based budgeting is about making budgets more transparent, ensuring that public money is spent on the right priorities, and linking budgets more closely to the purposes of spending. Program structure in program-based budgeting is central to some of the most fundamental questions in public finance reform. This paper, prepared with financial and technical assistance from the World Health Organization, aims to contribute to the global knowledge of program budgeting in low- and middle-income countries through the lens of program structure and its definition and evolution in the health sector.

Program-Based Budgeting in Health in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A New Dataset

A persistent challenge for both reformers and budget users in many countries undertaking the transition to program budgeting is learning about practices in other countries. This dataset and technical note, produced as part of research undertaken for a larger World Health Organization project, contains an assessment of budget documents from 30 low- and middle-income countries with some form of program budgeting. A brief technical note describes the data collected and offers a summary of what it tells us, and the dataset contains the full assessment and additional notes.

Defining and Managing Budget Programs in the Health Sector: The Brazilian Experience

This case study looks at how the Brazilian government has approached program budgeting in the health sector and assesses the way in which the government has linked health spending with key policy objectives. Despite Brazil’s extensive history of program budgeting, this paper identifies some important challenges the government needs to address it if wants to provide a clearer picture of how, and for what purpose, health funds are actually spent.

Program Budgeting in the Health Sector in Indonesia

This case study examines program budgeting in the health sector in Indonesia. The authors examined Indonesian legislation and budget documents, and conducted several interviews with resource persons from relevant institutions to collect information on Indonesia’s implementation of program-based budgeting and all of its accompanying challenges.

Program Budgeting for Health Within Mexico’s Results-Based Budgeting Framework

Mexico has an elaborate system of “budgeting for results,” of which budget programs are an important part. While program budgeting is not new in Mexico, the last decade has seen efforts to refine and consolidate the number of budget programs, and to enhance the quality and logic of performance indicators and targets. This case study examines Mexico’s approach to program budgeting in the health sector – in particular the advantages and disadvantages of having a large number of programs.

The Philippines: From Performance to Programs in the Health Budget

The Philippines presents a somewhat unique case of program budgeting. The introduction of programs came after nearly a decade of challenges arising from performance-oriented budget reforms. Program budgeting was introduced in 2015 in part to address the accountability challenges of performance measures at the ministry level, but it was not fully implemented until 2018. Though it is too early draw conclusions about how well program budgeting is working in the Philippines, this case study presents insights we can glean from the process used to set up program structures in the health budget.