The Open Budget Survey (OBS) is an assessment of fiscal transparency, public participation and formal oversight in the budget process across a range of countries, conducted every two years.
This brief focuses on the OBS performance of a number of countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The region is 1 point away from reaching the threshold of sufficient budget transparency and joining the “61+ club”. The report breaks down the levers and incentives that have driven progress and explains the constraints and varied political commitments to further progress on more transformational budget openness measures. Download the report.
The Open Budget Survey is the world’s only comparative, independent, and regular assessment of transparency, oversight and participation in national budgets in 120 countries.
As is the case in every round, the 2021 survey represents the collective work of our global network of researchers in each country. This round, however, we did something different. We leaned into partnership and worked hand-in-hand with a select group of partners to co-author our global report and eight regional reports. This new approach has allowed us to benefit from the rich insights of our global partners and present key recommendations to spur action at the global, regional and country level.
The 2021 survey comes at a time when accountable and inclusive public budgets are more urgent than ever. The pandemic has led to the first rise in global extreme poverty in a generation, inequality is soaring and democracy is backsliding. The wealthy have become wealthier, while the excluded, especially women and marginalized communities are bearing the brunt of the fallout. Governments need to open up to public dialogue around how best to manage scarce public resources if we are to meet these challenges. Inclusion can yield democratic and development dividends in this time of great need and great disruption. If there is one common theme in this latest Open Budget Survey, it is that reform is possible anywhere.
Over the last 13 years, we have documented steady gains in global transparency. The average transparency score in the survey has increased more by than 20 percent since 2008. Download the report.
This paper documents the rapidly growing empirical literature that can plausibly claim to identify causal effects of transparency or participation in budgeting in a variety of contexts. Recent studies convincingly demonstrate that the power of audits travels well beyond the context of initial field-defining studies, consider participatory budgeting beyond Brazil, where such practices were pioneered, and examine previously neglected outcomes, notably revenues and procurement. Overall, the study of the impacts of fiscal openness has become richer and more nuanced. The most well-documented causal effects are positive: lower corruption and enhanced accountability at the ballot box. Moreover, these impacts have been shown to apply across different settings. This research concludes that the empirical case for open government in this policy area is rapidly growing in strength. This paper sets out challenges related to studying national-level reforms; working directly with governments; evaluating systems as opposed to programs; clarifying the relationship between transparency and participation; and understanding trade-offs for reforms in this area. Download the paper.
This paper forms part of the Open Government Partnership’s “The Skeptic’s Guide to Open Government 2022 Edition”.
Civil society partners across 120 countries worked with IBP to undertake a rapid assessment of “emergency fiscal policy packages” from March to September 2020. This resulted in new approaches to policy initiatives like the stimulus package adopted in Togo, aimed at addressing the impact of the COVID-19 emergency. The goal of this assessment is to identify how countries can improve both during and after the crisis. Download PDF.