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November 26, 2007

Comparative Budget Law study released in French

Posted by Ian Lienert

In PFM, there is often a dearth of comparative studies. This was especially the case for the legal framework of budget systems. Given different legal traditions and the varying importance of law across countries, budget-related laws are more different than budget systems themselves. Two years ago, the dearth in this subject was plugged when OECD published an English version of The Legal Framework for Budget Systems: An International Comparison, which includes in-depth studies of 13 OECD countries.

More recently this study has been made available in French [hard copy only at this time]. The original English version is available electronically (PDF format) at the OECD Journal of Budgeting site.

This special edition of the OECD Journal of Budgeting, Vol. 4, No. 3, was co-authored by Ian Lienert of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department during his study leave in 2004.

The Journal article shows that the legal basis for budget processes and budget actors varies enormously across OECD member countries. For instance, the United States has a dozen major laws to support federal government budget processes, yet Denmark and Norway have never adopted any such law. To understand this situation, this book compares the legal framework of budget processes and budget actors in 13 selected OECD member countries, based largely on detailed case studies of their budget systems laws, and identifies the reasons why the legal frameworks differ so much. The book also examines theories of public finance and constitutional political economics, and discusses norms for an optimum legal framework. With a focus on similarities and differences in formal laws (constitutions and statutes relating to the budget system), the comparative analysis will be useful for any country that is planning to reform its budget system and its associated laws.


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