Equity and Justice
Too often, public finances are viewed through the narrow lens of technical efficiency, or with an outsized emphasis on fiscal discipline to the exclusion of other important values. We believe that public finances should be rooted not only in these important considerations, but also those associated with equity, democracy, and human rights. This implies putting greater emphasis on the distributional impact of fiscal policies, relative to their impact on growth or deficits. The traditional focus on efficiency should be complemented by greater emphasis on effectiveness in service delivery, to ensure public spending delivers on key results such as addressing basic needs and promoting equality. And the processes and institutions through which budget decisions are taken should be redesigned to become more inclusive, democratic, and participatory.
Reflections & Insights
Stakeholders are gathering this week in Berlin to chart the future of the Addis Tax Initiative, whose overarching goal is to increase tax revenues to help finance the Sustainable Development Goals. This blog written by experts from civil society highlights the need to focus on equity and outlines priority areas for reform so as not to undermine the SDGs.
How can we build a moral case for equitable budgets and redistributive policies that will resonate with a broad cross-section of society? This reflective piece points to the need to collect more evidence on attitudes about fairness across countries and communities and to fashion messages that emphasize our common humanity, rather than our differences.
Putting the ‘Public’ Back Into Public Finance: How Better Budgets Can Save Democracy (February 2019)
Public finance and government budgets are things few people get excited about, but they affect every one of us much more than we think. What would public finance that puts the public good — human beings with their needs and aspirations — at the center of government policy-making look like? And could this re-framing of public finance be the key to democratic renewal?
Reframing Public Finance: Promoting Justice, Democracy, and Human Rights in Government Budgets (February 2019)
This paper outlines the elements of a proposal to reframe debates around public finance and government budgets, drawing on the inter-related concepts of justice, democracy, and human rights, and putting more emphasis on issues of equity, sustainability, effectiveness and inclusion. The authors address some of the shortcomings of current approaches and propose a more solid, normative foundation on which public finance decisions can be assessed and taken.
Kenya Equity Week is a national week of reflection on issues of equity in resource distribution featuring a series of events highlighting views and ideas related to equity emerging from academia, civil society, government, the arts community, development organisations, and citizens. Equity Week was conceived in 2016 by a coalition of partners including IBP Kenya, Katiba Institute, and SID.