Assessing the Power of the Purse: An Index of Legislative Budget Institutions

This article presents an index that ranked 36 countries according to how much control the legislature has over the budget, based on the legislative budget institutions in each country. The article reveals substantial variation in the level of financial scrutiny of government by the legislature amongst contemporary democracies. A number of Wehner’s findings demand our attention. For example, the UK and Canada, both of which have (relatively) highly developed economies, fell into the bottom quartile of countries in terms of legislative control over the budget, alongside Chile and South Africa. Argentina and Mexico, meanwhile, were close to the top quartile, alongside Belgium and Germany.


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