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Open Budgets

The Political Economy of Transparency, Participation, and Accountability

edited by Sanjeev Khagram, Archon Fung, and Paolo de Renzio

Publication Year: 2013

Decisions about "who gets what, when, and how" are perhaps the most important that any government must make. So it should not be remarkable that around the world, public officials responsible for public budgeting are facing demands —from their own citizenry, other government officials, economic actors, and increasingly from international sources —to make their patterns of spending more transparent and their processes more participatory.

Surprisingly, rigorous analysis of the causes and consequences of fiscal transparency is thin at best. Open Budgets seeks to fill this gap in existing knowledge by answering a few broad questions: How and why do improvements in fiscal transparency and participation come about? How are they sustained over time? When and how do increased fiscal transparency and participation lead to improved government responsiveness and accountability?

Contributors: Steven Friedman (Rhodes University/University of Johannesburg); Jorge Antonio Alves (Queens College, CUNY) and Patrick Heller (Brown University); Jong-sung You (University of California —San Diego) and Wonhee Lee (Hankyung National University); John M. Ackerman (National Autonomous University of Mexico and Mexican Law Review); Aaron Schneider (University of Denver) and Annabella España-Najéra (California State University–Fresno); Barak D. Hoffman (Georgetown University); Jonathan Warren and Huong Nguyen (University of Washington); Linda Beck (University of Maine–Farmington and Columbia University), E. H. Seydou Nourou Toure (Institut Fondamental de l'Afrique Noire), and Aliou Faye (Senegal Ministry of the Economy and Finance).

Published by: Brookings Institution Press

Front Cover

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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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p. 4-4

Copyright Information

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p. 5-5

Table of Contents

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pp. v-vi

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1. Overview and Synthesis: The Political Economy of Fiscal Transparency, Participation, and Accountability around the World

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pp. 1-50

Raising, allocating, and spending public resources are among the primary functions and policy instruments of any government. Government budgets, as well as off-budget fiscal instruments such as state-owned enterprises and sovereign wealth funds, profoundly affect economies, societies, and ecoystems. ...

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2. What We Know Can't Hurt Them: Origins, Sources of Sustenance, and Survival Prospects of Budget Transparency in South Africa

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pp. 51-75

A sustained and high level of budget transparency flowing not from a government’s vulnerability to public pressure but from its insulation from it seems counterintuitive. This, however, may provide an accurate picture for the country rated by the International Budget Partnership (IBP) as the most transparent in the world—South Africa. ...

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3. Accountability from the Top Down? Brazil's Advances in Budget Transparency despite a Lack of Popular Mobilization

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pp. 76-104

The Brazilian public sector is large by international standards. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), it is the fourteenth largest in the world, bigger than developed democracies such as the United Kingdom or Spain. ...

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4. A Mutually Reinforcing Loop: Budget Transparency and Participation in South Korea

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pp. 105-129

South Korea (hereafter simply Korea) is hailed as a rare case of achievement in both economic development and democratic transition among developing countries in the second half of the twentieth century. Korea is considered a success in terms of budget transparency as well. ...

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5. Budget Transparency and Accountability in Mexico: High Hopes, Low Performance

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pp. 130-157

One would expect the emergence of democratic political competition in Mexico over the past decade to have had an immediate and irreversible impact on budget transparency and accountability.1 Competition between different parties should lead to increased mutual oversight. ...

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6. Guatemala: Limited Advances within Advancing Limits

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pp. 158-182

The Guatemalan state mobilizes few resources, spends its meager revenues poorly, and provides only limited transparency and participation in budgeting. In raising barely more than 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in revenues, the Guatemalan government secures only enough funding to cover basic functions, leaving the state vulnerable to crises, ...

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7. The Limits of Top-Down Reform: Budget Transparency in Tanzania

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pp. 183-206

Budget transparency in Tanzania has improved greatly since the country transitioned to democracy in the early 1990s. Nevertheless, it remains a problem, especially in transforming greater openness into improved accountability. Tanzania’s efforts to improve transparency have resulted mainly from the reforms that powerful presidents sitting on top of a fairly disciplined ...

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8. The Diversification of State Power: Vietnam's Alternative Path toward Budget Transparency, Accountability, and Participation

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pp. 208-223

In the past two decades Vietnam has been transitioning from a centralized, Soviet-oriented, planned economy into a decentralized, state-directed market economy with deepening ties to East Asian and North Atlantic countries. This tectonic shift has led to reconsideration, if not revision, of virtually every facet of government policy and practice, including those related to the budget. ...

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9. Capturing Movement at the Margins: Senegal's Efforts at Budget Transparency Reform

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pp. 224-250

African countries do not score well on budget transparency, according to the Open Budget Index (OBI) ratings for 2010. Their poor performance may be attributed to a combination of factors identified in the OBI report, including a significant level of aid dependency, economic underdevelopment, and a lack of or weakness in democratic institutions. ...


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pp. 251-252


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pp. 253-264

Back Cover

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p. 272-272

E-ISBN-13: 9780815723387
E-ISBN-10: 0815723385
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815723370

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2013