12:30 pm EDT - 2:00 pm EDT

Past Event

What Do Effective Public Financial Management Systems Look Like? From Convergent to Contingent Thinking in Development

Thursday, May 08, 2008

12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

The Brookings Institution

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC

Many developing country governments aspire to be more effective. The development community advises how to do this, offering proposals that reflect donors’ concept of best practice. Not surprisingly, the recipe therefore tends to be similar if not identical for all countries. But is technical perfection – as reflected in governance indicators, donor handbooks, and project designs – necessary or sufficient for well functioning governments that deliver quality and value with the money they spend?

In this presentation, Matt Andrews, an Assistant Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, first took a look at the litany of best-practice recommendations. He then reviewed the Public Financial Management (PFM) systems in nine governments that are considered to be relatively effective. These nine governments do not converge to best practice in their PFM systems, so the question emerges what really matters for producing good results? Can we generalize, or is each case unique? Are there some common characteristics that do have an impact? What do these insights mean for research in this area and for donors in their provision of advice and promulgation of rules governing their aid? The Transparency and Accountability Project hosted Andrews to discuss his research, policy proposals, and ideas for the future direction of research.

More about the Transparency and Accountability Toward Better Governance Series

TAP hosts a regular luncheon seminar series, entitled “Toward Better Governance: Strengthening Government Accountability in Low-and Middle-Income Countries,” which is designed to demonstrate the breadth and nuance of the issue of accountability by bringing a diverse group of experts to stimulate a richer and broader debate on promoting better governance.

To receive more information on the Toward Better Governance Series, please contact Alice Krupit.