Open Budgets

The Political Economy of Transparency, Participation, and Accountability

Sanjeev Khagram, Archon Fung, Paolo de Renzio
Release Date: April 5, 2013

A Brookings Institution Press and Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation publication Decisions about “who gets what, when, and how” are perhaps the most important that any government must...

Decisions about “who gets what, when, and how” are perhaps the most important that any government must make. So it should not be remarkable that around the world, public officials responsible for public budgeting are facing demands—from their own citizenry, other government officials, economic actors, and increasingly from international sources—to make their patterns of spending more transparent and their processes more participatory.

Surprisingly, rigorous analysis of the causes and consequences of fiscal transparency is thin at best. Open Budgets seeks to fill this gap in existing knowledge by answering a few broad questions: How and why do improvements in fiscal transparency and participation come about? How are they sustained over time? When and how do increased fiscal transparency and participation lead to improved government responsiveness and accountability?

Contributors: Steven Friedman (Rhodes University/University of Johannesburg); Jorge Antonio Alves (Queens College, CUNY) and Patrick Heller (Brown University); Jong-sung You (University of California—San Diego) and Wonhee Lee (Hankyung National University); John M. Ackerman (National Autonomous University of Mexico and Mexican Law Review); Aaron Schneider (University of Denver) and Annabella España-Najéra (California State University–Fresno); Barak D. Hoffman (Georgetown University); Jonathan Warren and Huong Nguyen (University of Washington); Linda Beck (University of Maine–Farmington and Columbia University), E. H. Seydou Nourou Toure (Institut Fondamental de l’Afrique Noire), and Aliou Faye (Senegal Ministry of the Economy and Finance).


Sanjeev Khagram is the John Parke Young Professor of Global Political Economy at Occidental College and Young Global Leader with the World Economic Forum. Archon Fung is the Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship at the Harvard Kennedy School. Paolo de Renzio is a senior research fellow with the International Budget Partnership and research associate at the Overseas Development Institute as well as at the University of Oxford.