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TitleLives in the Balance: Improving Accountability for Public Spending in Developing Nations
Author
LanguageEnglish
File Size1.2 MB
Total Pages199
Table of Contents
                            Cover
Lives in the balance
	Copyright Information
	Contents
	Boxes
	Figures
	Tables
	Preface: A Story about This Book
	Acknowledgments
Chapter 1:
The Process of Government Accountability: An Anecdote and an Agenda
	A critical focus—public expenditure management
	Evolution of thinking on development and accountability
	A simple model
	A word of caution on a promising agenda
	Notes
Chapter 2:
Major Issues and Tools in Public Expenditure Management
	Countries need a strategic approach to expenditure planning
	The government’s role is often too broad to be successful
	Spending tends to be inefficient and inequitable
	Decentralization of public spending creates practical problems
	Budget execution and the expenditure framework are weak
	Prospects for improving public financial management andprocurement systems are mixed
	What remains to be done
	Notes
Chapter 3:
The Political Dimension of Public Accountability
	Defining the problem
	Applying the principal-agent framework to citizens seeking resultsfrom government
	Charting the sources of accountability
	Taking advantage of the changing world political context
	Improving prospects for demand-driven accountability
	Notes
Chapter 4:
Transparency and Accountability in Budgets and Expenditure Management
	Making budgets clear and transparent
	Analyzing performance and transparency in the budget process
	Some success stories in budget execution—but more are needed
	Notes
Chapter 5:
Independent Monitoring Organizations at Work
	What is an independent monitoring organization?
	Putting independent monitoring organizations on the map
	Engaging in a multiagent environment to improve transparency andaccountability
	Measuring the impact of independent monitoring organizations—some questions
	Next steps for independent monitoring organizations
	Notes
Chapter 6:
Strengthening Independent Monitoring Organizations
	Characteristics of a small group of independent monitoringorganizations
	Actions taken to strengthen independent monitoring organizations
	Lessons for donors
	Summary of lessons for improving the effectiveness of independent
monitoring organizations
	Notes
Chapter 7: Conclusion-Bringing Everyone to the Same Page
	The story of the book
	What can donors do?
	What can independent monitoring organizations do?
	What can governments do?
	And finally, a ministry of finance perspective
	Notes
References
Index
Back Cover
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 1

LiveSin theBalancE
Improving Accountability for Public Spending

in Developing Countries

charles c. griffin, david de ferranti,
courtney tolmie, justin jacinto,

graeme ramshaw, and chinyere bun

Foreign aid is under a microscope because of its potential impact and, insome cases, the harm it has brought. Donor countries, which do not want
simply to give money away; recipient countries, which need to make the most
of what they have and get; and analysts, policymakers, and writers are all scru-
tinizing how much is spent and where it goes. But aid is only a small part of
what developing country governments spend. Their own resources finance 80
percent or more of health and education spending except in the most aid-
dependent countries. Lives in the Balance investigates a vital aspect of this
landscape —how best to ensure that public spending, including aid money,
gets to the right destination.

The development of democratic institutions and the spread of cheap com-
munications technologies in developing countries make it possible for citizens
and civil society institutions —the “demand-side”—to advocate for improved
transparency, stronger accountability, better priorities, reduced corruption,
and more emphasis on helping the poor. Securing real reform depends not
only on knowledge of how the recipient government operates, but also on how
to work with partner entities —the media, the private sector, other organiza-
tions, and legislators — to raise awareness and compel change.

Charles C. Griffin is senior adviser to the vice president for Europe and Central
Asia at the World Bank and former senior fellow in Global Economy and
Development at Brookings Institution. David de Ferranti is president of the
Results for Development Institute and a former World Bank vice president.
Courtney Tolmie is a senior program officer for the Transparency and
Accountability Program, a project of the Results for Development Institute.
Justin Jacinto, Graeme Ramshaw, and Chinyere Bun all have conducted
research for Brookings.

Brookings Institution Press
Washington, D.C.

www.brookings.edu

Cover photograph by Keiko Miwa,

taken in Bamyan Province, Afghanistan

Cover design by Terry Patton Rhoads

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Page 99

76 Chapter 4

proposal to the public and the legislature, the process can be flawed. Lack of con-
sultations, timing of the budget proposal release, level of detail released, and power
of the legislature to amend the proposal limit legislative and citizen oversight, even
when the overall indicators on the issuing of reports may look relatively good.

Accountability is even less common than transparency. Even in countries where
the budget proposal was released to the legislature and consultations were held with
legislators when budget priorities were being set, many legislatures lacked the power
to amend the budget proposal. Only a quarter of the low- and middle- income
countries surveyed give the legislature unlimited authority to amend the budget;
more than 40 percent of legislatures have minimal or no authority to amend the
budget proposal (figure 4.6). Generally, the poorer the country, the more limited is
the voice of the legislature in the budget process.

Involving the legislative branch and others in budget preparation does not guaran-
tee that budgetary allocations will reflect national strategic priorities or that they will
add value to the process. For example, the World Bank’s public expenditure review
for Indonesia notes that even though Parliament has strong powers over deliberation
and approval of the annual budget, parliamentary deliberations almost always focus
on “line items and discussion of details as opposed to overall allocations, political

0

25

50

75

100

Upper
middle-income

countries

Lower
middle-income

countries

Low-income
countries

All

Percent

No authority to amend

Very limited authority
to amend

Authority to amend,
with some limitations

Unlimited authority
to amend

Figure 4.6

Most legislatures in sample low- and middle-income countries have
little or no authority to amend the budget, 2008

Source: iBP/oBi 2009.

Page 199

LiveSin theBalancE
Improving Accountability for Public Spending

in Developing Countries

charles c. griffin, david de ferranti,
courtney tolmie, justin jacinto,

graeme ramshaw, and chinyere bun

Foreign aid is under a microscope because of its potential impact and, insome cases, the harm it has brought. Donor countries, which do not want
simply to give money away; recipient countries, which need to make the most
of what they have and get; and analysts, policymakers, and writers are all scru-
tinizing how much is spent and where it goes. But aid is only a small part of
what developing country governments spend. Their own resources finance 80
percent or more of health and education spending except in the most aid-
dependent countries. Lives in the Balance investigates a vital aspect of this
landscape —how best to ensure that public spending, including aid money,
gets to the right destination.

The development of democratic institutions and the spread of cheap com-
munications technologies in developing countries make it possible for citizens
and civil society institutions —the “demand-side”—to advocate for improved
transparency, stronger accountability, better priorities, reduced corruption,
and more emphasis on helping the poor. Securing real reform depends not
only on knowledge of how the recipient government operates, but also on how
to work with partner entities —the media, the private sector, other organiza-
tions, and legislators — to raise awareness and compel change.

Charles C. Griffin is senior adviser to the vice president for Europe and Central
Asia at the World Bank and former senior fellow in Global Economy and
Development at Brookings Institution. David de Ferranti is president of the
Results for Development Institute and a former World Bank vice president.
Courtney Tolmie is a senior program officer for the Transparency and
Accountability Program, a project of the Results for Development Institute.
Justin Jacinto, Graeme Ramshaw, and Chinyere Bun all have conducted
research for Brookings.

Brookings Institution Press
Washington, D.C.

www.brookings.edu

Cover photograph by Keiko Miwa,

taken in Bamyan Province, Afghanistan

Cover design by Terry Patton Rhoads

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