Open Budget Survey
Key Takeaways


Since 2008, transparency scores have increased more than 20 percent.


of countries provide sufficiently detailed information to understand how their budget addresses poverty.


of governments present their expenditures by gender.


Only eight countries worldwide have formal channels to engage underserved communities in budget processes.

Open Budget Survey 2021

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
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
New countries announced in the new round of the Open Budget Survey
Regional Reports: Open Budget Survey 2021
Managing COVID Funds: The Accountability Gap
Sector Budget Transparency 2019

Explore the Data

About Open Budget

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 228 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 83 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 (also known as the Open Budget Index): assesses the public availability of the eight key budget documents, that 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 time-frame consistent with good practices, 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. OBS 2021 questionnaire and methodology: Arabic | English | French | Portuguese | Spanish
Latest Insights
Paper, Training Materials

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

May 18, 2022
Gambia Participates held a workshop with key stakeholders from the Ministry of Finance, National Assembly, other organizations and the media to identify ways to improve government transparency and oversight. Photo by Gambia Participates.

Building inclusive & accountable budgets in The Gambia

Jun 29, 2021

The Vaccine against COVID-risk: Open Budgets, Open Response, Open Recovery

May 12, 2020
Jamie Drummond
Latest Event

An End to Debt Déjà Vu

Oct 12, 2023
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Marrakech time (WEST)

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