Taking Stock of the Volatility of Budget Transparency

August 2017 | By Paolo de Renzio, Daniel Hiller, and Suad Hasan, International Budget Partnership

For citizens, civil society groups, and other actors interested in budget monitoring and analysis for advocacy and accountability purposes, having predictable access to budget information is essential. Fiscal accountability is greatly facilitated when governments can be relied upon to regularly and predictably publish budget documents and information across the different stages of the budget cycle. However, in some countries this is not the case. “Volatility” in the publication of budget documents — when the public availability of documents containing key budget information changes repeatedly over time — is a common occurrence across countries included in the International Budget Partnership’s Open Budget Survey.

This Budget Brief presents the results of a stock-taking study of existing evidence related to volatility in budget transparency across countries included in the Open Budget Survey, drawing on survey data between 2008 and 2016. To establish whether lack of institutionalization could be seen as one of the factors leading to volatility, the analysis of Open Budget Survey data on the public availability of budget documents — and how availability has evolved over time — is complemented by two other types of data that relate to the institutionalization of budget transparency practices: public finance management laws and the strength of government systems linked to the production of budget information.



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Paolo de Renzio

Senior Research Fellow, International Budget Partnership

Paolo de Renzio joined the International Budget Partnership in October 2010 as Senior Research Fellow and is based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His research agenda covers a broad range of topics, including budget transparency and accountability, equity and justice in budgeting, taxation and tax expenditures, among others. He also supports the team producing the Open Budget Survey. Prior to joining the IBP, Paolo worked as a Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute; as an economist and policy advisor in Papua New Guinea’s Ministry of Finance; and as a UNDP public sector specialist, lecturer, and independent consultant in Mozambique. He has been a consultant for the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Commission, and for a number of bilateral donor agencies and international NGOs. Paolo holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Oxford, where his research focused on the impact of donor policies on budget reforms in developing countries. He also holds an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from ‘Bocconi’ in Milan, Italy.

Suad Hasan

Program Officer, Open Budget Survey, International Budget Parnership

Suad joined the International Budget Partnership in May of 2016 and is based in Washington D.C. As a Program Associate with the Open Budget Initiative, Suad is responsible for data collection and review of the Open Budget Survey, and coordinating and providing technical assistance to civil society partners and government through out the survey process. She also assists with other research projects related to budgets and budget transparency.

Prior to joining IBP, Suad worked as a journalist with a news organization in New Delhi assisting with the coverage of political stories. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Masters in International Relations from American University’s School of International Service.

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