Budgets and planning

Public procurement reform: assessing interventions aimed at improving transparency

This Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) asks: what is the effectiveness of different interventions that aim to improve the transparency of public procurement? It also asks: What is the impact of improved procurement on accountability, anti-corruption and service delivery? Is it possible to produce key success criteria? An evidence base consisting of 48 studies, of high ...» more

Measuring the performance of PFM systems

Government budgets and their supporting systems – often referred to as Public Financial Management (PFM) systems – are one of the key tools that governments use to turn policy statements and intentions into the delivery of goods and services. In fact, much of what governments do depends on raising, borrowing and spending public resources. Interest…» more

Gender responsive budgeting

Gender responsive budgeting (GRB) brings together two issues that are not commonly associated with one another: gender equality and public financial management. GRB argues that gender equality principles should be incorporated into all stages of the budget process. GRB initiatives seek to improve the results of budgets in general, and gender equality and women’s empowerment…» more

Designing and monitoring PFM reform programmes

The PEFA framework is the most comprehensive assessment instrument. It provides indicators to measure all dimensions of a PFM system. While PEFA assessments are now in wide usage, other diagnostic instruments and tools – like the IMF Fiscal Transparency Code and various World Bank and OECD tools – are used alongside them for more specific purposes. Alternatively, ...» more

Pro-poor national budgets

There is a wealth of evidence that spending on basic social services (health, nutrition, education) and social protection can be progressive and reach the poor, with particularly high potential returns from expenditures in these sectors reaching poor and vulnerable women and children. In recent years, empirical research has reinvigorated interest in the potential poverty ...» more

Examples of PFM impacts on gender equality

Research for this report was unable to find conclusive cases where public financial management (PFM) reform led to impacts on gender equality. This is because PFM reform does not necessarily lead to gender equality impacts, and conversely improvements in gender equality do not always require, or follow on from, PFM reform. It may also be that gender impacts are rarely covered ...» more

Fragile States 2014: Domestic Revenue Mobilisation in Fragile States


What financial resources are available to fragile states – internationally and domestically – to fund their development? What role does aid play? What can be done to close the gaps in resources for development? This report looks at these questions, highlighting the need to focus more on domestic revenue generation as a source of state revenue, and also as a cornerstone of ...» more

World Social Protection Report 2014/15: Building economic recovery, inclusive development and social justice


This ILO flagship report: (i) provides a global overview of the organisation of social protection systems, their coverage and benefits, as well as public expenditures on social security; (ii) following a life-cycle approach, presents social protection for children, for women and men of working age, and for older persons; (iii) analyses trends and recent policies, e.g. negative ...» more

Incentives for gender responsive budgeting

It is difficult to conclusively evaluate the impact of gender responsive budgeting (GRB) on gender outcomes and in turn the impact of incentives on GRB and on women’s empowerment more widely. This is both due to a limited evidence base about impact and to the complexity in assessing and interpreting impact (Combaz, 2013). Literature on GRB is primarily prescriptive and there ...» more

Evidence of development impact from institutional change: a review of the evidence on open budgeting

Cristina Ling, Dawn Roberts

Despite the growing body of literature examining the effectiveness of transparency and accountability initiatives, there remains limited substantiation for whether and how open budgeting contributes to reductions in poverty and improvements in the lives of the poor. This paper reviews available evidence and concludes that institutional changes can contribute to higher-level ...» more

Increasing financial investment in women and girls through gender responsive budgeting

Overall, evidence indicates that it is difficult to attribute financial change to GRB initiatives. There are a limited range of impacts attributed to GRB, however less specific details provided on why initiatives have been successful. Drawing from the literature that is available, some of the identified successes, and factors contributing to their success, include: South ...» more

Transparency for what? The usefulness of publicly available budget information in African countries

Rebecca Simson, Paolo De Renzio

This report considers whether the budget documents released by African governments are sufficiently comprehensive to answer basic questions about budget policy and performance. It spotlights those African governments surveyed in the Open Budget Survey (OBS) with the strongest transparency records, and looks at: i) whether their budget reports are accessible online; ii) the ...» more

Impact of gender-responsive budgeting

Gender-responsive budgeting has been applied by a few dozen developing countries since the mid-1980s, though to very different extents and in diverse forms. It is difficult to identify what its impact has been on gender outcomes and on resource distribution within government, due to a limited evidence base and to complexity in assessing and interpreting impact. Nevertheless, ...» more

Budget accountability and participation

Experts agree that the evidence base on budget transparency, accountability and participation is limited and underdeveloped. However there are a growing number of case studies and meta-analyses covering a wide geographic scope and diverse contexts, with a variety of methods and gender sensitivity. Key findings from the evidence include the following: There are examples ...» more

Overview and Synthesis: The Political Economy of Fiscal Transparency, Participation, and Accountability Around the World

Sanjeev Khagram, Paolo de Renzio, Archon Fung

This chapter brings together evidence from quantitative data and in-depth qualitative case studies. It finds that four main factors affect fiscal transparency, participation, and accountability across countries: 1) processes of political regime change and increasing political competition, 2) fiscal and economic crises, 3) corruption scandals and the media, and 4) external ...» more

Improving Transparency and Accountability in the Budget Process: An Assessment of Recent Initiatives

Ruth Carlitz

Budget transparency has in recent decades come to be seen as a pillar of good governance by international organisations and civil society groups. This article reviews budget-related transparency and accountability initiatives (TAIs) to analyse their impact. Cross-national academic studies find that budget transparency is correlated with better credit ratings, better fiscal ...» more

The Impact and Effectiveness of Accountability and Transparency Initiatives: Freedom of Information

Richard Calland, Kristina Bentley

This article discusses some of the main conceptual parameters of freedom of information (FOI) theory, before reviewing the available evidence from a range of studies. There is confusion about what kind of right FOI is (civil, political, social), and what consequences can be expected from an FOI regime, particularly effects on governance, corruption, and the investment climate. ...» more

Public Financial Management Reforms in Post-conflict Countries: Synthesis Report

World Bank

This synthesis report considers the feasibility of and constraints to public financial management reforms in post-conflict contexts. It discusses findings from a cross-country analysis of the design, implementation, and impact of PFM reforms in eight post-conflict environments over ten years. It finds that, while significant progress in improving public financial management is ...» more