The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
An improvement in the quality of public expenditures is needed in many countries, given binding macroeconomic and fiscal constraints, and poverty reduction and distributional objectives. This process involves a reassessment of methodology used for this purpose by countries and international agencies, and the data needed for improved decision making. This paper reviews methods that might be used by international agencies, such as the Fund and the Bank, jointly with a survey of data currently available, required improvements in the data currently available, and required improvements in the information base. The scope for improvements in governments' expenditure policy making is also considered.