Someone working on the budget process in a developing country contacted me with the following question:
I noticed in your most recent post you mention that you are a budget wonk. I am currently working in [the budget section of an African government] as an ODI Fellow … But there is no formal training and no-one who can recommend useful reading on budgeting processes. I wondered if you had a reading list on budgeting that might be helpful? This could be anything from basics to more advanced material.
There is actually a lot of material out there, but it isn’t really all brought together in one place very well. Here is what I suggested:
- the World Bank’s Public Expenditure Management Handbook is a good starting point, but it is a strangely apolitical document that does not do justice to the politics of the budget process.
- That can be remedied with Legislatures and the Budget Process: the myth of fiscal control by Joachim Wehner.
- Allen Schick’s paper, “Why most developing countries should not try New Zealand’s Reforms” (updated link and corrected title) is a classic which should guide us when we think about the budget process in developing countries.
But perhaps I’m out of date. What do you think an ODI fellow working on the budget process in a developing country should read?
(And is it OK that we are sending ODI Fellows to developing countries to work on the budget process without some formal training, or at least a reading list?)