74 of 94 countries assessed fail to meet basic standards of transparency and accountability when it comes to their national budgets. 40 countries release no meaningful budget information. Only 7 of the 94 countries surveyed release extensive budget information.
There has been nearly 20 percent improvement in the average performance of the 40 countries that have been measured over three consecutive Open Budget Surveys, which is a positive sign. Greater transparency enables better oversight, better access to credit, better policy choices, and greater legitimacy. Governments can improve transparency and accountability quickly and easily by publishing online all of the budget information they already produce and by inviting public participation in the budget process.
Data reveal a strong correlation between lack of transparency and accountability and countries that rely heavily on oil and gas revenue, receive significant amounts of foreign aid, and have authoritarian governments. While these correlations exist, a number of notable exceptions and surprising results demonstrate that any country can achieve transparency and accountability if its government makes it a priority.