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Controlling Public Expenditure
The Changing Roles of Central Budget Agencies - Better Guardians?
One of the most important functions of modern government is to marshal and deploy resources to achieve desired objectives and outcomes. This task is overseen by the Central Budget Agencies (such as Ministries of Finance and Treasuries) who have the responsibility of generating tax revenue, and controlling and allocating public expenditure.
This extensive comparative study investigates the changing nature and role of Central Budget Agencies (CBAs) in ten countries reflecting a spectrum of different institutional and constitutional contexts. Eighteen expert contributors offer detailed accounts of the various trajectories that have occurred within their respective CBAs, set against the changing political environment in which they operate. A recurring theme throughout is an evaluation of the power and agenda-setting roles of CBAs, assessing how their influence has grown or waned over time. An important feature of the book is that each chapter attempts to incorporate external scholarly analyses with internal practitioner views.
Four key areas are examined in each of the CBAs, including:
* the changing roles and responsibilities of CBAs
* the politics of the budget process and the influence of CBAs
* administrative and post-administrative cultures inside government
* future prospects and directions for the CBAs.
The original research presented in this book provides a new window into the world of CBAs, adding an important contribution to the scholarly research on public finance and government budgeting. It will also assist many CBAs to re-evaluate their roles and contributions to public budgeting and public sector management. This volume is required reading for anyone wanting to gain greater insight into whether CBAs really are the best guardians of the public purse.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
`This book will greatly interest those in comparative public finance and those seeking a better understanding of the sometimes confusing and muddled government budget process. Highly recommended.' -- R.J. Phillips, Choice `This is an excellent book that should be read by students and scholars of public budgeting. It contains a balance of works by some of the world's experts in the field. The book is well-organized and the chapters are well written, referenced and edited. Topic coverage is comprehensive and the individual chapters are up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in budgeting and control in a most interesting set of nations. This is a must read.' -- Larry Jones, Naval Postgraduate School, California, US `Despite the importance of the Central Budget Agency (CBA), there is precious little international comparative information and research to explain and help guide the performance revolution. The research presented here is a good first step in filling that void. The chapters explore a range of countries, including those that have been among the most innovative and successful in reforming their public service. They answer the important questions of how CBAs have evolved and how the governance context in which they work is changing. Yet, the value of the research lies beyond a simple description of the budget process. The analysis of the staff, the management, their background, and their view of the work and organisational culture offers unique insights into challenges that policymakers face as they move forward with reform. In a world with many theories and few facts, this book is a welcome addition and an important resource for academics, citizens and their governments that seek to understand and improve their policies.' -- From the preface by Michael Ruffner, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development