December 2016 | By Paolo de Renzio, International Budget Partnership and Massimo Mastruzzi, The World Bank
Governments sometimes complain that the budget information they make publicly available is seldom accessed and utilized. On the other hand, civil society organizations (CSOs) often claim that the information governments make available is very difficult to understand and not detailed enough to allow for meaningful analysis and advocacy. Is there a mismatch between the budget information supplied by governments and demand among civil society?
This paper examines the “demand side” of fiscal transparency using findings from a global survey of 176 individuals working in civil society that use budget information for analysis and advocacy activities. Based on the responses, the authors identify a “fiscal transparency effectiveness gap” between the fiscal information that governments often provide and the information that CSOs need.
These findings are used to develop a set of recommendations to help governments ensure their transparency practices deliver increased citizen engagement, improved oversight, and enhanced accountability.