Open Budget Survey
Key Takeaways

24%

increase in global budget transparency since 2008.

11%

of assessed countries include a projection of financial sustainability in their Executive Budget Proposal that covers a period of at least 10 years.

5.6

billion people live in countries that offer one or more opportunities for the public to engage in the budget process.

1/3

Less than a third of line ministries invite people’s input into sector budgets.

Open Budget Survey 2023

Take Action

A Call to Open Budgets

Join us and our many international and national partners to urge governments to:
  1. Establish meaningful, inclusive spaces to engage the public in budget processes.
  2. Curtail executive overreach and empower legislators and auditors’ oversight roles.
  3. Disclose more and better budget information.
  4. Sustain progress by institutionalizing accountability reforms.

Add your voice
Featured
Regional Findings
Regional Reports: Open Budget Survey 2021
Special Report
Managing COVID Funds: The Accountability Gap
Country Findings
Dominican Republic: Open Budget Survey 2021
Special Report
Sector Budget Transparency 2019
Featured
Strengthening Budget Transparency in the MENA Region
PUBLICATION
New countries announced in the new round of the Open Budget Survey
PRESS
Regional Reports: Open Budget Survey 2021
REGIONAL REPORTS
Managing COVID Funds: The Accountability Gap
SPECIAL REPORT
Sector Budget Transparency 2019
SPECIAL REPORT

Explore the Data

About the Open Budget
Survey

Everyone, everywhere should have the opportunity to engage with the budget process in a meaningful way. First launched in 2006, the Open Budget Survey is the world’s only independent, comparative, and fact-based research instrument to measure these essential aspects of governance and accountability:
  • Participation: are there formal and meaningful opportunities for the public – including the most disadvantaged – to engage in the national budget process?
  • Oversight: are oversight institutions – the legislature, the national audit office, independent fiscal institution(s) – in place and enabled to function properly?
  • Transparency: is comprehensive budget information from the central government available to the public in a useful time frame?
The survey is not an opinion poll or a measure of perceptions; rather, it is based on a rigorous objective methodology subject to independent peer review.

The Open Budget Survey would not be possible without the partnership of over a hundred civil society organizations and academic institutions across the world. Although the mandates and areas of research by these groups vary widely, all have a common interest in promoting transparent and responsive budgeting practices in their countries.

Survey results are based on 240 questions that remain the same for each country. The survey is conducted by researchers typically based in the respective country. Almost all of the researchers come from civil society organizations (most of whom have a significant focus on budget issues) or academic institutions. 

  • Scored questions: 145 of the questions are scored and include 109 questions that assess the public availability of budget information, 18 questions that assess opportunities for the public to participate in the budget process, and 18 questions that assess the role of the legislature and the supreme audit institution. 
  • Unscored questions: the 95 unscored questions help to complete the OBS research by collecting background information on key budget documents and explore different characteristics of a country’s public finance management. 

Each country’s completed draft questionnaire is also reviewed by an anonymous independent expert, as well as – in the great majority of cases – a representative of the country’s government.  Participation score: the survey assesses the degree to which the executive, the legislature, and the supreme audit institution each provides opportunities for the public to engage during different cycles of the budget process.  Oversight score: the survey also examines the role that legislatures and supreme audit institutions play in the budget process and the extent to which they are able to provide robust oversight of the budget. Supplementary information on the existence and practice of independent fiscal institutions is also collected by the survey, but these questions are not scored.  Budget transparency score (previously known as the Open Budget Index): assesses the public availability of the eight key budget documents, which taken together provide a complete view of how public resources have been raised, planned, and spent during the budget year. To be considered “publicly available”, documents must be published online, in a timely manner, and must include information that is comprehensive and useful. A score of 61 or above indicates a country is likely publishing enough material to support informed public debate on the budget. For more information, see Open Budget Survey 2023 Methodology and the OBS 2023 Questionnaire and Guidelines

Latest Insights
mail-obs

New countries announced in the new round of the Open Budget Survey

Apr 11, 2023
Photo by Andrzej Lisowski Travel / Shutterstock.

Ethiopia seeks reform and openness as pathway to change

Dec 15, 2022
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Paper, Training Materials

(When) Do Open Budgets Transform Lives? Progress and Next Steps in Fiscal Openness Research

May 18, 2022
Latest Event
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Headwinds and Tailwinds: Navigating Budgets in Turbulent Times

May 29, 2024
12:30 pm – 2:00 pm GMT
OBS InSIGHTS

The Vaccine Against COVID-Risk: Open Budgets, Open Response, Open Recovery

Jamie Drummond, global strategist, The Global Goals and co-founder of ONE

Building inclusive & accountable budgets in the Gambia

A public health emergency is testing whether Gambian civil society can keep tabs on the national budget

Open Budget Survey Virtual Launch

May 31, 2022
8:30 - 10:00 AM EST
Virtual Event