Public financial management and accountability

PFM and corruption

Public Financial Management (PFM) processes – revenue mobilisation (e.g. taxation and customs), budget preparation and resource allocation, budget execution (e.g. procurement and payroll), and the accounting and auditing of government expenditure – are a key focus of donor supported anti-corruption reforms. A focus on the budget and budgetary processes is not surprising given that: (1)…» more

PEFA: What is it good for? The role of PEFA assessments in public financial management reform

Sierd Hadley and Mark Miller

How can the PEFA framework both help and hinder our understanding of PFM systems? This paper illustrates how PEFA can be (mis)used to guide PFM system reform. While the PEFA framework remains the most comprehensive indicator of PFM to date – over 500 formal assessments have been undertaken and verified by the Secretariat since its launch in 2005 - not all elements of the ...» 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

Webinar video: Public Financial Management

Dr Paolo de Renzio (International Budget Partnership) and Prof Dominik Zaum (University of Reading)  gave short presentations on transparency, participation and corruption in Public Financial Management. Discussant Dr Simon De Lay (University of Birmingham) drew on his experience and recent research to reflect on issues raised, and participating development practitioners from around the world contributed questions and comments. The webinar was held on 24…» more

Public financial management evidence mapping

This paper reviews the extent of evidence for the effect of Public Financial Management (PFM) interventions on outcomes in low and middle income countries. It is based on a database of 197 studies compiled after a rigorous search process. The number of studies in the field was surprisingly low, reflecting a series of challenges in acquiring robust evidence. Studies tended to ...» more

Managing change in PFM system reforms: A guide for practitioners

World Bank

This guidance note presents the key components of change management programs, together with several country cases, in order to assist practitioners in the design of change management and adaptive leadership programs as an integral part of country specific PFM system reform projects. Key findings: Key challenges for mobilising a large group of individuals (reform teams) ...» more

Public financial management in fragile states

Effective Public Financial Management (PFM) in fragile states is a critical foundation for basic economic governance and in establishing the performance, legitimacy and accountability of functional states. Extreme poverty is increasingly located in these countries, which face multiple challenges of ongoing conflict, instability and resource constraints, both financial and human. A June 2015 summary ICAI…» more

Climate finance and public finance management

Much attention has been directed at the international commitments to assist developing countries respond to climate change. This is reflected in the debate over the commitments made under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: at the UNFCCC negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009, developed countries committed to jointly mobilise $100 billion climate finance per…» 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

Public financial management

PFM: Why does it matter and how best to improve it? What is Public Financial Management (PFM)? PFM refers to the set of laws, rules, systems and processes used by sovereign nations (and sub-national governments), to mobilise revenue, allocate public funds, undertake public spending, account for funds and audit results. It encompasses a broader set…» 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

Taxation, Redistribution and the Social Contract in Brazil

Marcus Melo, Armando Barrientos, André Coelho

This paper examines the political and political economy factors explaining Brazil’s success in raising tax revenue and assesses its contribution to a Brazilian ‘Development Model’. The recent rise in tax/GDP ratio in Brazil raises several intriguing questions. First, there is substantive macroeconomic and fiscal policy continuity since the mid-1990s, with fiscal stability ...» more

Strengthening Public Financial Management: Exploring Drivers and Effects

Verena Fritz, Stephanie Sweet, Marijn Verhoeven

This study explores the relationships between country characteristics and PFM quality, and between the quality of PFM systems and expected outcomes. It finds that country characteristics do not have a strong predetermining effect on the quality of PFM for most countries. And it finds evidence that stronger performance results in better budget credibility, but not in lower ...» 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