A Fair Share of the Budget: Principles and Practices in Public Resource Distribution in Kenya
Publication Type: Papers
August 2016 | by John Kinuthia and Jason Lakin, Ph.D. , IBP Kenya
Kenya’s 2010 constitution sought to establish a fairer way of managing public finance, stating that “expenditure shall promote the equitable development of the country, including by making special provision for marginalized groups and areas.” How to achieve a fair and equitable system for distributing resources, however, remains hotly contested.
This paper investigates what is actually meant by equity and fairness when it comes to sharing public resources. It reviews five principles – need, minimum shares, capacity, effort, and efficiency – that are generally considered in global discussions on fairness and looks at how these principles can be applied to distributing resources in Kenya. The paper builds on this analysis to review how resources are currently shared in Kenya through mechanisms such as the National Government Constituency Development Fund, various cash transfer programs, the Equalization Fund, and allocations for Level 5 Hospitals. It then looks at how public resources are distributed in India and South Africa, drawing lessons from these examples.
The paper concludes by identifying numerous gaps in current practices that policymakers should consider when debating how best to share resources in line with the spirit of Kenya’s 2010 constitution.
- A Fair Share of the Budget: Principles and Practices in Public Resource Distribution in Kenya (IBP Paper, August 2016)
Additional information was added to pages 21 and 24 of this paper on 8 September 2016
- 2012/13 National Government Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Allocations Compared to Simulations Based on Available Poverty Reports (IBP Kenya Analysis, August 2016)
This table is based on allocation data from Kenya’s CDF website. However, the data had some constituencies mislabeled. We used the disbursement data on the CDF website, which also has information on allocation, to correct these issues.
- Sharing Public Resources Within Counties in Kenya: How Fair Are Emerging Approaches? (August 2016)
- Reasoning About Sharing County Water Funds in Kenya: Assessing the Quality of Justifications For Distribution (January 2016)
- Reasoning About Sharing Public Resources Within Counties in Kenya: How Three Counties Share and Justify Sharing Funds (January 2016)