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November 20, 2013

Crowd Sourcing Request: A List of All International Comparative PFM Data!

Posted by David Gentry

Public Financial Management (PFM) data sources are rapidly increasing in number and quality. In the last dozen years several new major data sets have been established, such as the PEFA (Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability) Secretariat’s listing of country assessments, the Open Budget Initiative’s Open Budget Survey results, and the IMF’s Fiscal Rules Dataset. Data sets increasingly are well defined, standardized, updated regularly, and often aligned with key analytical issues. They cover at least a large subset of countries worldwide.

An initial list of PFM data sources is shown below. Readers of the PFM Blog are invited to suggest additions, keeping in mind the criteria of useful data described in the opening paragraph above. An updated list, based on reader submissions, will appear in the Blog in the near future.  

Comparative data can be very useful in several ways. Knowing what peer countries are doing often motivates countries to move forward with key reforms by giving them confidence that they can institute similar reforms, and provides an opportunity to learn from the lessons of other countries. Comparative data also provide reputational incentives to match or exceed benchmarks or norms for peer countries. These considerations form the premise underlying the peer-based learning organizations that have sprung up in recent years, such as PEMPAL and PEMNA, covering Eastern European and Central Asian countries and other Asian countries, respectively.

Comparative data, however, should not be viewed as ranking countries against a linear sequence of development to achieve a single best solution. Local variations will always exist, and there is rarely an unequivocally best practice. Comparative data can be misused, but this danger is not enough to overcome the many benefits comparative data bestow. The increasing availability of data, and more rigorous analysis based on those data, has the potential to significantly enhance the realism and effectiveness of PFM reform efforts. It is hoped that researchers and practitioners alike will demand more and better data, and make use of it to answer questions about how best to advance good public governance.

Download International PFM Databases [1]

[1] To access each database, CTRL + click to follow link.

Note: The posts on the IMF PFM Blog should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. 


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The link provides a long list of files, could you advise which ones to select?


PEFA Secretariat

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