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Fiscal Policy, Development Planning, and Annual Budgeting

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
Published Date:
January 1969
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Before the advent of “functional finance” the presentation of the budget was primarily concerned with the exercise of legal and political control over government expenditure and receipts. Any recognized economic effects of taxation and expenditure were regarded as secondary or incidental to the major task of raising revenues to finance the collective wants of society that the market mechanism cannot satisfy. At best, therefore, budgetary techniques and procedures were concerned with finding out the most equitable methods of raising revenues and the most efficient way of carrying out the activities of the government. Nowadays, the budget has become a focal point in the presentation and implementation of fiscal policies and even development planning; and its size in relation to the total economy has grown enormously in all countries, so much so that its power to influence the economy has greatly increased. In this context no longer can the budget be interpreted narrowly in terms of specialized operations of financial control, accounting, and organization. The wider concern with fiscal problems and economic planning raises new claims on the budget system of almost all countries, including the most advanced of them.1

It is the purpose of this paper to discuss certain reforms in budgetary techniques and procedures for developing countries that would facilitate the implementation of fiscal policies based upon modern theories of public finance and their coordination with development planning.

The modern approach to the theory of public finance concentrates attention on analysis of the relationships between changes in the volume of expenditure, taxation, and public borrowing, on the one hand, and national income, aggregate demand, and employment, on the other. It is assumed that the reader is familiar with the basic principles of the theory of income determination, and therefore no attempt will be made here to describe the mechanism of the effect of these economic magnitudes on each other. As is well known, it is possible to influence total economic activity both upward and downward by means of variations in government expenditure and receipts.2 Out of this grew the concept of functional finance3 which advocates the deliberate manipulation of government expenditure and receipts so as to achieve and maintain a stable and high level of economic activity. The implication of this to the budget process is that two major policy dimensions—(1) economic stability and (2) economic growth—have been added to those considerations by which budgetary measures were usually judged. Thus, budgetary policy has acquired simultaneously a short-run and a long-run significance. In the short run it is the adaptation of government expenditure and receipts to the task of offsetting economic fluctuations. In the long run the same measures are used to promote economic growth.

It is important to state explicitly that the new functions of the budget may sometimes conflict with the other aims of government policy that enter into budget making and perhaps also with the political process by which budgets are determined and executed in various countries. Although our subsequent discussion will center around the implication of growth and stability for budget planning, we do not mean to imply that these two objectives should always be predominant in determining the budget or that other national objectives should necessarily be subordinated to these two considerations. However, the fact that the budget is only one instrument of policy among many makes the possible reconciliation of conflicting objectives somewhat easier. Nevertheless, the central role of the budget in carrying out these policies complicates and increases the demands upon the budgetary process.

I. Fiscal Policy and Economic Stability

As already indicated, a major function of government transactions is their contribution to the stabilization of aggregate demand in order to counteract general inflationary or deflationary tendencies. Such a policy would involve forecasting of the way in which the principal aggregates of the national income can be expected to change during the financial year in the absence of changes in tax structure and government expenditure. Depending on the multiplier effect of a change in the various types of government receipts and expenditure, a budgetary measure necessary to attain a specific result could then be determined. However, the selection of specific budgetary measures for stabilization purposes in developing countries must have regard to the nature of economic instability in these countries, and to their probable impact on economic development. In other words, if we think of development as well as stability, we must concern ourselves not only with the size of aggregate demand but more specifically with the kind of demand, consumption or investment, public or private, and in what areas. We need, therefore, information that would make it possible for us to consider and to coordinate as much as possible both the stabilization effect and the development effect of government expenditure and receipts.

Although the goal of economic development is closely akin to what has come to be considered a primary goal of economic policy in advanced countries, in the developing countries the objective of economic development probably enjoys a greater priority than is assigned to the aim of creating full employment in the more advanced countries. This, plus the fact that in developed countries certain flexibility in government expenditure and other policy instruments exist which make it possible to meet the demands of contracyclical policy without impairing long-run policies, means that the conflicting nature of the objectives is much more serious in less developed countries.

Before recommending a design of budgetary information that would facilitate the coordination of stabilization and development policies, it might be useful to review in brief the nature of economic fluctuations and their effects on a developing economy.

In the industrial countries, business fluctuations are largely a “homemade” phenomenon, with the volume of private investment at the root of the problem. In primary producing, less developed economies, private investment is much less of a disturbing factor, as it constitutes a small part of total national income. The most important autonomous force and the leading component in the economic instability of primary producing countries are the fluctuations in the export proceeds of these countries. One might also add that the terms of trade of these countries fluctuate in such a way as to make real the movements in the money value of their exports. The terms of exchange between primary products and manufactured goods oscillate, of course, around a long-run trend. Whether this long-run trend itself has been deteriorating or not is a subject of considerable controversy among economists, but suffice it to say that the demand for raw materials tends to grow at a much slower rate than industrial output and the growth of real income in developed countries.4

The cyclical fluctuations in export proceeds are not, of course, confined to the export sector but through the multiplier process are transmitted throughout the economy. Meanwhile, the struggle for economic development is bound to be frustrated by the downward movements in income and demand and not less by the disturbances caused by inflationary pressures.

In boom periods, when the export earnings are high, most of the increased income will be spent, if no counterpolicies are pursued, on consumer goods. The increased demand will make itself felt not only on the market for domestically produced goods but also for higher imports. Since the greatest part of domestic production in these countries consists of agricultural products from small-scale farming, the supply is inelastic in the short run, and even somewhat in the long run too, because of the archaic methods of production and the lack of sufficient storage facilities and processing industries. Small-scale or light industries, which might be available in such countries, are likewise inadequately equipped to increase their production by employing idle resources in response to increased demand; and the situation is rendered even more difficult by the shortage of skilled labor. For the same reasons induced investments, except perhaps in the export sector, will remain small. As prices of domestically produced goods rise, their competitive position is thus weakened, and the demand for imports increases.

A serious disadvantage of these oscillations in income and demand in developing countries is that they tend to disrupt the development effort of the country and to create an inflation-prone economy. Government revenues derived for the large part, directly or indirectly, from exports and imports strengthen the pressures for increased public expenditure during boom periods; and since public expenditures, especially current expenditures, have a way of maintaining their levels, it becomes difficult to effect decreases when export earnings decline, thus leading either to deficit spending, in order to finance continuing or essential development projects, or to curtailment of the development budget. Apart from capital losses and the possible political repercussions to a policy of retrenchment in the development budget, such a policy will obviously tend to undermine any sustained effort for the development of the economy.

It follows from the above discussion that policies directed toward the elimination of cyclical fluctuations in developing countries should be concerned first of all with the underlying causes of the instability, namely, (1) the fluctuation in raw material markets and (2) the natural causes, such as weather and soil erosion, which affect the volume of agricultural production. Influencing the terms of trade depends on international action and is well beyond budgetary policies and, therefore, the scope of this paper. The influences of weather can certainly be mitigated by budgetary policies through the construction of irrigation schemes, which may to some extent relieve shortages of water and prevent flooding, and by the development of a transportation system, which would make regional areas less dependent on local production. However, our concern here is how to prevent the fluctuations in export earnings from entering the national economy and influencing domestic expenditure by variations in government expenditure and receipts.5

The most obvious characteristics of government expenditure in developing countries in comparison with the industrialized countries are the following: (1) a larger share of total expenditure devoted to investment in economic infrastructure; (2) a lower share of total expenditure consisting of social transfer payments, such as unemployment relief and assistance payments; and (3) a pattern of total expenditure in which the cost of administrative services is fairly high.6 There are obviously no built-in stabilizers on the expenditure side,7 and the structure as a whole makes the use of contracyclical variations in expenditure difficult to operate. Nevertheless, it would seem that careful management of expenditure, both current and developmental, is the best anticyclical weapon that developing countries have.

The basic principle of expenditure policy that would facilitate both stability and growth in developing countries is to plan carefully the current and capital expenditure with a view to their impact on development, and to shield these levels of expenditure from fluctuating by previously accumulated foreign exchange reserves.

In other words, it is a problem of careful long-term planning and, more important, of well-coordinated annual budgeting. In a subsequent section we deal with possible techniques of coordination. But, apart from the technical problem of coordinating long-term development programs with the annual budgets, such a policy implies two things for the development program and the current budget: (1) the development program must be, as far as possible, flexible with regard to composition in order to enable the government to vary its development expenditure among commodities, time periods, and localities as changes in prices and incomes require or as bottlenecks occur; and (2) the level and composition of current expenditure must always be subjected to rigorous examination to eliminate waste and to ensure their proper growth in relation to the development program. This is emphasized since it would appear that a successful policy of stabilization for economic growth will concentrate first on current expenditure rather than on development expenditure.

A major requirement of development and stabilization policies is, therefore, a careful analysis of the composition of government spending and the shifts in this composition from year to year. The question arises whether tax policy is more adaptable than expenditure policies to short-run stabilization purposes. But here again tax policy cannot ignore the long-run implications for economic and social development. Moreover, the heavy reliance on import duties and the relatively unimportant role of personal income taxes in developing countries suggest that revenue policies cannot be the prime mover in successful stabilization policies. Nevertheless, it should certainly not be permitted to contravene the larger strategy of economic development and stability.

Import duties are, of course, to some extent a built-in stabilizer, albeit a somewhat less reliable and lagging one. Export duties can be varied in proportion to world market prices for primary commodities. If this method is used, it would seem advisable to adopt a sliding scale so as to ensure a kind of built-in stabilizer that is outside the reach of pressure groups. Such a scale should, however, be reasonably mild in order to keep the export sector dynamic and to prevent smuggling or too large sales in the domestic market.8

Another important measure on the revenue side is to strengthen tax administration in these countries. The timely collection of direct taxes strengthens their anticyclical significance and facilitates, of course, implementation of the development program.

To summarize, one can say that the general principles in this brief discussion of expenditure and revenue policies for development and economic stability require (1) the building up of foreign exchange reserves during boom periods to be utilized in recessions in order to ensure an uninterrupted implementation of the development program—in this context, the accumulation and use of foreign exchange reserves may, of course, take the form of external borrowing and drawings on the International Monetary Fund during recessions to be repaid out of the high incomes realized in boom periods; (2) long-term expenditure programs to be as flexible as possible; and (3) a careful coordination of annual budgets with the development plan.

II. The Design of Budgetary Accounts for Stabilization and Economic Development

The previous discussion of public finance activities as a means of influencing aggregate demand and economic development lends a special significance to the fiscal accounts of the government. But the traditional budget accounts and format do not provide information that can readily be used to assess the macroeconomic effects of the budget. The reason for this is that the accounts are designed primarily to ensure the accountability of those receiving and spending public money to those authorizing the expenditure. Expenditures and receipts are thus shown according to administrative units of the government and are subdivided into specific items of receipts and objects of expenditure, such as salaries, materials, and transport costs. There is, of course, no question of abandoning this administrative classification or the very important principle of financial control and supervision over government departments. However, if the budget is to fulfill the requirements of economic analysis, the fiscal accounts will need to be reclassified in such a way as to permit the evaluation of government transactions on aggregate domestic demand and the balance of payments, as well as their contribution to economic development.

The impact of the budget on aggregate demand can be estimated at various levels of sophistication. The simplest method is to look at the accounting budget surplus or deficit and to examine its impact on the liquidity of the economy. Our previous remarks about the multiplier effects of various items of expenditure and receipts suggest that this is not a sufficient indicator of the impact of the budget on domestic demand, because it is assumed that all government expenditures have the same expansionary effect and all government receipts have an equivalent deflationary effect. A corollary of this is that an increase in expenditure will have the same effect as an equivalent decrease in taxes. A simple arithmetical example will show that this is hardly the case. If we assume a marginal propensity to consume of 0.75, an increase of $100 in government expenditure on goods and services will lead to an increase of $400, while a reduction in tax yield of $100 will lead to an increase of $300. The reason for this is that the increase in expenditure is used at once to buy goods and services, but a tax reduction does not give direct results in the same way. Consumers will spend only three fourths of their increased income in the first instance to purchase goods and services. In the same way the impact on demand through direct purchases of goods and services will be greater than through transfer payments, and transfer payments will have a greater per dollar impact than taxes. As one must, therefore, evaluate the separate effects of government transactions to arrive at a net positive or negative figure to indicate the inflationary or deflationary impact of the budget, the composition as well as the size of the budget becomes important.

Although it is certainly difficult to quantify the multiplier effects of the various types of transactions, they are too important to be ignored in any evaluation of budgetary policies. For example, if the budget format does not differentiate between expenditure on goods and services and on transfer payments, then those working with the budget categories may tend to think that these two types of expenditure are equivalent in their macroeconomic effects, so that an increase of $1.00 in the former would require a decrease of $1.00 in the latter in order to keep the over-all budget impact the same. Therefore, as a minimum, one should attempt to form an idea of the nature of the impact of a transaction by studying its economic characteristics. In effect, what this means is that all transactions of the government should be regrouped into economic categories whose impact on aggregate demand are approximately the same. For expenditure, one must at least distinguish among current expenditure on goods and services, capital formation, subsidies, interest payments, direct lending (and borrowing), and purchases (and sales) of negotiable financial claims. On the revenue side the difference between the various taxes and other receipts of the government should be carefully drawn. Such a classification would encourage policymakers to think about the macroeconomic effects in evaluating the alternatives between spending money on goods and services, transfer payments, and/or tax changes. It would also permit the construction of various accounts, depending on the purpose to be served and the type transaction to be highlighted. But in order for such information to be of maximum use to budget policy, it should go beyond the aggregative approach of national income accounts. Also, whenever possible, the transactions should be shown according to the economic sector with which they are made, e.g., public corporations, local authorities, and the private sector.

To isolate the effect of government transactions on the balance of payments from their effect on domestically produced goods and services, it is also important to distinguish between cash flows to and from abroad, and cash flows to and from the domestic economy. The balance of payments effects of government transactions can then be estimated by taking into account the direct imports and exports of the government reflected in its foreign exchange expenditure and receipts and the marginal propensity to import resulting from a change in income induced by government transactions. The combined effect of these two factors will reduce the impact of government transactions on domestic demand.

An implication of the impact of government transactions on the balance of payments to developing countries, where the marginal propensity to import and the foreign exchange component of government expenditures are high, is that an expansionary fiscal policy for stabilization purposes will generally have less effect on domestic employment and output than on the balance of payments, particularly if the fall in income is caused by a decline in exports.9 The reason for this is that a decline in real income owing to a crop failure or a deterioration in the terms of trade does not cause unemployment, and hence does not free resources that can be called into productive use in the short run by more spending. Government expenditure and tax reductions, which may be intended to offset the decline in domestic money income, would therefore create inflationary pressures and accentuate the balance of payments problems. The difficulties in expanding output, owing to the lack of certain productive factors, and the obstacles to rapid changes in output also mean that a policy of deficit financing for development purposes cannot be pursued without running into serious balance of payments difficulties and/or depletion of foreign exchange reserves.

Table 1 presents a simple design of budgetary accounts for stabilization purposes.10 It should be noted that budgetary transactions are frequently recorded in separate accounts, such as ordinary and extraordinary accounts, general and development accounts, and current and capital accounts. In many instances the division reflects institutional arrangements, and in some it may reflect policy considerations. Thus, the distinction between a current and a capital account is sometimes linked to the effect of budget transactions on the net worth position of the government and to rules of financing capital expenditures. Whatever the reason for this fragmentary approach, the budget accounts for stabilization purposes would seem to require a consolidated statement, including current and capital transactions, for all public agencies whose activities can be controlled by the central political authorities to influence aggregate demand.

Table 1.Consolidated Central Government Accounts for Stabilization1
A. FISCAL ACCOUNTS
ExpenditureReceipts
  • 1. Government expenditure on goods and services

    • current expenditure

    • capital formation

  • 2. Interest payments

  • 3. Transfer payments to

    • households

    • local authorities

    • other domestic sectors

    • abroad

  • 4. Subsidies

  • 6. Sales and charges

  • 7. Net profits from trading enterprises2

  • 8. Provision for depreciation of fixed assets of trading enterprises 2

  • 9. Interest and other income from ownership of property

  • 10. Direct taxes

    • households

    • corporations

  • 11. Social security contributions

  • 12. Taxes on production and expenditure

    • import taxes

    • export taxes

    • sales and turnover taxes

    • surplus of fiscal monopolies

  • 13. Transfers from

    • local authorities

    • private sector

    • abroad

  • 5. Government expenditure

  • 14. Government receipts

  • 15. Over-all surplus or deficit

  • B. Financial accounts

  • 16. Net domestic loans and advances

    • short term

    • long term

  • 17. Net foreign loans and advances

    • short term

    • long term

  • 15. Over-all surplus or deficit

  • 19. Net domestic borrowing

    • a. central bank

      • short term

      • long term

    • b. commercial banks

      • short term

      • long term

    • c. other sectors

  • 20. Net borrowing from abroad

    • private

    • public

  • 21. Sales less purchases of existing financial assets

  • 18. Total net lending

  • 22. Over-all surplus or deficit, net borrowing, and liquidation of assets

  • 23. Net increase in cash holdings

If the scope of the government sector is defined to exclude trading and production activities, and to cover only agencies carrying out activities of “general government” nature, items 7 and 8 would be replaced by an item showing only the share of profits transferred to the government.

Enterprises and agencies keeping commercial accounts. Since item 7 is net of depreciation, item 8 is included to indicate the actual cash flow to the government sector.

If the scope of the government sector is defined to exclude trading and production activities, and to cover only agencies carrying out activities of “general government” nature, items 7 and 8 would be replaced by an item showing only the share of profits transferred to the government.

Enterprises and agencies keeping commercial accounts. Since item 7 is net of depreciation, item 8 is included to indicate the actual cash flow to the government sector.

The data for the preparation of Table 1 can be obtained directly from the main budget accounts and, where necessary, from other special accounts. Since our interest is in the over-all cash surplus or deficit, no imputation of such items as rent of government-owned buildings and depreciation of fixed assets of general government agencies are included. Transactions within the central government sector are, of course, omitted, but transfer payments to local authorities and other public agencies should be shown. Also, whenever possible, transactions in foreign currencies should be identified. The table also shows the effect of a surplus or a deficit on the structure of financial transactions and thus on the liquidity of the economy.

For the analysis of relationships between government transactions and economic development, the identification of economic categories as shown in Table 1 is not sufficient. While much of current expenditure on goods and services may not have a significant impact upon the economy’s capacity to expand, clearly certain types, such as agricultural extension services and technical training institutes, do. Also, not all government investments contribute significantly to a country’s ability to produce. Moreover, the contribution of the government to national savings is of a special significance to development efforts. An appropriate design of budgetary accounts for the analysis of the development impact of government transactions would rearrange Table 1 to highlight current savings, and would add two new concepts to the classification: (1) development expenditure and (2) functional classification showing the distribution of development expenditure among the various sectors of the economy. (See Table 2.)

Table 2.Consolidated Central Government Accounts for Development Analysis
A. CURRENT ACCOUNT
ExpenditureReceipts
  • 1. Current expenditure on goods and services

  • 2. Interest payments

  • 3. Current transfer payments to

    • households

    • local authorities

    • other domestic sectors

    • abroad

  • 4. Subsidies

  • 6. Sales and charges

  • 7. Net profits from trading enterprises

  • 8. Provision for depreciation of fixed assets of trading enterprises

  • 9. Income from ownership of property

  • 10. Direct taxes

  • 11. Social security contributions

  • 12. Taxes on production and expenditure

  • 13. Current transfers from

    • local authorities

    • private sector

    • abroad

  • 5. Current expenditure

  • 14. Current receipts

  • 15. Current account surplus

  • B. development account

  • 16. Fixed capital formation

  • 17. Other development expenditure

  • 18. Capital and development transfers

    • local authorities

    • public corporations

    • other enterprises

    • household

  • 19. Capital transfers abroad

  • 20. Net direct loans and advances

  • 21. Purchase of existing assets

  • 15. Current account surplus

  • 23. Taxes from capital

  • 24. Capital transfers from abroad

  • 15. Net borrowine

    • at home

    • abroad

  • 26. Other capital receipts and payments (net)

  • 22. Capital and development expenditure

  • 27. Current account surplus, capital receipts, and net borrowing

  • 28. Changes in cash balances

Development expenditures may be defined as expenditures that increase the productive capacity of the country, that is, all growth-inducing expenditures that would be misleading to consider as simple consumption. If this approach is adopted, fixed capital formation will be retained only as a special type of development expenditure. This is not merely a problem of definition from a narrow statistical point of view. In recent years the theory of economic growth has overemphasized the role of fixed capital formation in development, which led a number of countries to devote a considerable proportion of their resources to accumulate physical assets at the expense of the so-called current budget. The result was imbalance and lack of funds to utilize additional capacity created by new investments. An awareness of this problem is particularly important for a well-coordinated budget policy for economic development.11

“A function may be defined as a major division of the total organized effort of government—the purpose of which is to provide a distinct and separate public service such as national defence, education, public health, or agriculture.” 12 Such functional categories properly identified and set forth in relation to the organizations responsible for their execution are extremely useful for the budget process. They will not only provide general information on the nature of government responsibilities and the services rendered but, by showing the share of development expenditure devoted to each particular purpose, they will greatly improve the distribution of government resources between consumption and development purposes, and among the various sectors of the economy.

In order to establish meaningful functional categories, it is convenient to think first of the broad types of services a government renders and then to distinguish the functional categories in terms of the types to which they relate. In doing this, two sets of criteria seem to stand out, namely, (1) whether the service rendered is to the community as a whole, or to a certain part of the economy, or to individuals, and (2) whether the service in question is “traditional” and normally rendered by a government or in certain circumstances by the private sector. The application of these two criteria led in the UN Manual to the classification of government activities into the following broad groups: 13

  • (1) General Government Services: Services relating to the organization, administration, and protection of the community, such as justice, defense, and fiscal administration;

  • (2) Community Services: Services rendered to the community as a group and consumed collectively, such as fire protection;

  • (3) Social Services: Services rendered to members of the community or individually, such as education and health services; and

  • (4) Economic Services: Services related to the government role in the production, distribution, and transportation of goods and services.

As some expenditures may not relate to any one of these specific groups, the classification should include a category for unallocable expenditure.

Within each group of services mentioned above, distinct and separate types of services or functional categories, which are significant from the standpoint of the duties and responsibilities of the government as a whole, can be identified. Unlike the economic categories in Table 1, functional categories are not affected by the concepts, definitions, and classifications developed in national income accounting, but it would be desirable if the functional categories were made consistent with the International Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activities. The following classification is given as an example of such a scheme of functional categories.

Basic Functional Categories

General Services

  • General administration

  • Justice and police

  • General research and scientific services

  • Defense

Social and Community Services

  • Education

  • Health

  • Social security and special welfare

  • Housing

  • Other community services

Economic Services

  • Agricultural and nonmineral resources

  • Fuel and power

  • Other mineral resources, manufacturing, and construction

  • Transport, storage, and communication

  • Multipurpose projects

  • Other economic services

  • Unallocable Expenditure Items

The allocation of government expenditure between development and nondevelopment and among the various functions has, of course, an arbitrary element. It is not easy to agree on what is growth-inducing expenditure and what is consumption expenditure. Moreover, not all expenditure of an agency will fall clearly and unambiguously under one or another of the functions specified. An important part of this category is overhead cost of administration, particularly for a department whose activities fall into more than one functional category, such as the public works department. Ideally, such overhead expenditure should be distributed among the functions so as to identify the full cost of each function. Another alternative is to identify the cost of administration of an agency as a separate program to be included under the functional title “general administration” in the current account. Whatever the difficulties are, the important thing to remember is that the objective of the exercise is to identify the cost of the various services of the government on the most practical basis, and in a form best suited to economic analysis. As the information is not needed for accountability purposes, refinements in the allocation of expenditure among the various sectors or functions should be undertaken only as far as resources permit.

The Current and Development Accounts may then be supplemented by a cross classification of expenditures by function and economic character. The general lines of such a two-way classification are shown schematically in Table 3. Such a table has the advantage of presenting in one statement total government expenditure by economic categories and functions. It can therefore be used to compare changes in government expenditure from year to year, irrespective of changes in the distribution of functions among government agencies and various levels of government authorities. It would also be possible to see at a glance how expenditure on, say, agriculture was allocated among current expenditure, capital formation, subsidies to farmers, loans, etc. Changes owing to price increases from year to year may also to some extent be taken into account by expressing the various categories of expenditure on a certain function as percentages of appropriate national aggregates, such as gross national expenditure, consumption, and capital formation.

Table 3.Combined Economic Functional Classification of Central Government Expenditure
Current ExpenditureTotal CurrentCapital and Development ExpenditureTotal Capital and Development
Economic Categories(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(16)(17)(18)(19)(20)(21)(22)
1. General services
General administration
Justice and police
General research and scientific services
Defense
2. Social and community services
Education
Health
Social security and special welfare
Housing
Other community services
3. Economic services
Agricultural and nonmineral resources
Fuel and power
Other mineral resources, manufacturing, and construction
Transport, storage, and communication
Multipurpose projects
Other economic services
4. Unallocable expenditure items
Total

The presentation of the fiscal accounts along these lines and as a regular part of the budget would answer pertinent questions of budgetary policy, such as the over-all magnitude of government transactions and their distribution among general government, enterprises, and public corporations, the income received and payments made at home and abroad, how expenditures are financed and to what extent they are spent according to established priorities. The Development Account shown in Table 2 could also be supplemented by a set of accounts based on the economic categories to show the derivation of balancing items, such as changes in physical assets, changes in financial assets other than cash (lending transactions), and changes in liabilities (borrowing transactions). Only with such information can government budgeting be based on a careful analysis of its impact on economic development and stability.

III. Development Planning and Annual Budgeting

In the previous parts of this paper we examined the adequacy of traditional accounting forms for macroeconomic analysis. In this part we are concerned with problems of plan-budget coordination and cost-effectiveness analysis. Although the discussion will be presented in the context of a development plan, the relevance of the analysis is not restricted to the adoption of a formal plan or any particular dogma about long-range economic planning.

Long-range planning is usually based on some normative judgments regarding long-term objectives and their possible period of realization. While these objectives are generally expressed in terms of the national product to be attained over a certain period of time, they often contain explicit targets, such as education, health, and consumption standards.

The realization of these objectives will obviously have to be pursued within the constraints of resources—natural, human, and financial—as they become available. While the estimates of these resources over a long period of time are quite tenuous, it has been possible to visualize them broadly over a period of five to seven years. Hence, long-term objectives are phased into medium-term plans reflecting the relative priorities of objectives given the resources that are available and likely to be available. A further advantage of so-called medium-term plans is that they make possible the necessary adjustments to allow for transitional problems or bottlenecks that may arise in the pursuit of long-term objectives, or as a result of a fall in expected resources, e.g., balance of payments problems.

Ultimately, both long-term and medium-term plans concerning the public sector are implemented through the annual budgets. To a greater degree than the medium-term plan, annual budgets can assess the resources available for development. It follows, therefore, that relative priorities and project selection can be made from year to year more realistically in the light of changing resource availability and economic conditions in general. Viewed in this way, the budget is an inseparable part of the planning process.14

Budgets that are not formulated within the context of a long-range plan can only represent a rationalization of immediate decisions. Their soundness and efficacy in relation to the long-term objectives of the society cannot, therefore, be assured. On the other hand, the broader view and prospects that long-term plans offer are not justified on their own but only insofar as they actually influence immediate actions of the government through the annual budgetary process. The concept of planning should, therefore, be understood to comprise two main instruments or techniques: (1) those that are designed to orient the course of the economy as a whole, and (2) those that are designed to coordinate immediate decisions with long-term objectives and to ensure their execution and control. The former includes what is generally known as comprehensive planning techniques, and the latter refers essentially to budgetary techniques and procedures.

While planning techniques have been improved in many instances, budget practices have remained traditional in their approach and emphasis. To ensure effective implementation of the plan, the budget concept has to be broadened, and its techniques and procedures must be reconciled with those of planning. Given the resources that they feel assured of raising, budgeters must concern themselves with (1) problems of consistency between the budget and the plan and (2) efficiency, including such aspects as rationale of project formulation, optimum choice of projects from year to year, and performance evaluation, as much as they are concerned with propriety and economy.

The preceding discussion of the plan and the budget shows that without coordination between the two it would be impossible to evolve a composite picture of a dynamic situation and effectively direct it toward long-term objectives. The coordination required is that between the techniques of planning and budgeting and among the various institutions engaged in these activities. The following parts of the paper submit a number of propositions by which the coordination may be achieved smoothly and efficiently.

Plan-budget coordination to be effected at the technical level may be achieved through (1) complete coverage of public sector activities, (2) the structuring of the budget in terms of output and assignments, i.e., programs and projects, (3) the use of cost-effectiveness analysis to help to allocate budgetary resources among the various functions, programs, and projects, (4) budgetary controls, and (5) budgetary procedures.

Budget coverage

One of the important technical problems in plan-budget coordination is the relationship of independent public enterprises and institutions to the central political authority and the way in which their transactions are treated in the state budget. In a number of Latin American and African countries such agencies are altogether excluded from the budget. The exclusion of public enterprises is usually defended on the grounds that the nature of their operations requires different concepts of accounting and control. For other independent public agencies it reflects the constitutional and political structure of those countries. While recognizing the political character of the composition of the public sector and the force of argument in favor of greater freedom for public enterprises, it must be pointed out that where planning exists, control—at least in the sense of coordination of financial policies and follow-up of activities—over these agencies is unavoidable and indispensable. Because of their size and nature, a complete exclusion of independent agencies from the state budget severely limits the range of policies that can be applied to direct economic activity along the lines prescribed in the plan. The problem is to reconcile to the greatest extent possible the requirements for greater freedom and flexibility of independent agencies with those for control.

The first step in solving the problem is to draw all public sector agencies into the budgetary process by agreeing on a procedure for discussion and authorization of all matters concerning their annual programs, particularly their investment and borrowing activities. In this connection, it is advisable to agree on a uniform fiscal year for all public agencies and a simultaneous period for closing the accounts. The consolidation of the accounts of independent public agencies with those of the central government is a minimum necessity for coordination.

Transactions of state enterprises that are run on a commercial basis should perhaps be kept outside the budget, but the net result of their operations (that is to say, their profits and subsidies) must be channeled through the central budget. The budget should also reflect the capital provided by the government to the enterprises and the redemption of capital by the government. On the other hand, activities of nonprofit institutions, which may enjoy certain autonomy in their administration, should as a rule be covered in the budget.

Budget structure

The bureaucratic structure of the traditional budget, which emphasizes purchases of goods and services by organizational units, is not meaningful from a long-range planning point of view that identifies the objectives or outputs, and it does not facilitate the analysis of competing elements within a certain function or among a certain set of governmental activities. In other words, we cannot easily relate budget appropriations to long-term objectives, and we cannot examine costs in relation to the achievement of a specified result or the efficiency with which a government activity is carried out. The change of emphasis from annual budgeting in terms of appropriations to a long-range view requires therefore a new information-decision system that could permit the joint consideration of long-term and short-term aspects of government activities.

The information system considered here is that of program budgeting. The point of departure for the design of a program budget is the functional categories discussed in the previous section. After the decision on the basic functional categories, the classification of government expenditure under the respective functions starts with the identification of the programs of each department or agency.

A program may be defined as a self-contained and distinct segment of the work plan or effort of a government agency or department relating to a specific function. A program represents, therefore, a grouping of activities that are significant from the standpoint of the responsibilities of an individual agency or department and at the same time is identifiable as a part of a specific function.15 It does not, therefore, cut across organizational lines as in the case of the basic functional categories, but fits the pattern of financial control and management within a particular department.

In order to divide the total effort of an agency into program categories, a thorough examination of the authorities, responsibilities, objectives, and organizational structure of the agency in question must first be made. Only by such an examination can we derive the most useful program classification to be included under the respective functions.

Because of differences in the organizational structure, and in the nature and scope of government operations in different countries, it is not possible to suggest a uniform program classification. In some countries, the total effort of an agency may be so limited that its breakdown into two or more programs is undesirable. In other cases, a single program carried out by an agency may be divided into two or three parts for such reasons as the preponderance or relative importance of some components of the program or the need for special methods and skills in other phases of the program. For example, vocational education may be shown in one country as one program, while in another country the size of the program may make it desirable to identify each type of vocational education as a separate program. Nevertheless, the principle remains that only careful study of the work plan of each agency and sound judgment will result in the best possible program classification.

Programs serving the same basic purpose, irrespective of the agencies entrusted with their execution, constitute a function. Thus, a program classification provides the link between the work plan of agencies and the government objectives identified in the plan. This approach not only is useful for classifying total government expenditure by function but also renders the whole budget operation intelligible. Furthermore, it provides the basis for decisions on the allocation of government resources among the major components of a functional area in accordance with their contribution to the end objective of the total work plan of the budget. While the functional and program classification links the macroeconomic aspects of the annual budget to the plan, budget formulation, management, and execution require closer links at the microlevel. This need can be met by identifying within each program an activity, or so-called project, that represents a part of the total work of a program most suitable for the submission of budget estimates. As a rule, a project is a technically coherent undertaking by one agency that can be carried out independently of other projects, e.g., a school building, a factory, or the reclamation of a piece of land.

In such classification of government expenditure by function, program, project, and organizational unit, there are certain practical difficulties to be faced. A program of an agency may be associated with two or more functions. For example, a school health program may be regarded as part of educational services or as part of health services. Similarly, there may be practical difficulties involved in identifying research programs of agencies according to function, or in separating cost of research from other expenditure of an agency. In all such questions, an element of arbitrariness is unavoidable. In cases where a certain program is associated with two functions (for example, health and education) but is administered as part of one function (education), it may be convenient to include it under that function.

Finally, it should always be remembered that throughout this effort of restructuring the budget the objective is to identify government activities in terms of an end product that is meaningful for plan-budget coordination as well as for the decision-making requirements of the executive and legislative branches of a government. The program structure would have, therefore, to be revised whenever the decision-making process or the objectives change.16

Budget review and analysis

Development plans often indicate targets of output and resource allocation at the sectoral and program level, and even projects are sometimes specified in the plan. Nevertheless, the preparation of the budget as the annual segment of the plan cannot—and should not—be an automatic application of the plan document. It was stressed in the preceding sections that a major difference between the budget and the plan is that the resources available for investment can be estimated more accurately on an annual basis. Accordingly, the projects to be included in the budget must be selected every year in the light of changing resource situations. Current economic conditions—be they inflationary or deflationary—may demand temporary deviations from the approved structural pattern in the form of accelerated or delayed spending. Moreover, it is often necessary to revise the plan in order to take account of errors, omissions, or changes in objectives. The very preparation of the annual budget may force the recognition of the necessity for such revisions.

The macroeconomic function of the budget implies that the first budgetary constraint to be contended with is the size of the budget in the light of prevailing economic conditions. At this early stage of budget preparation, planning and budget authorities must work closely together in deciding upon the budget guidelines and the necessary phasing of projects. Every public agency needs to know well in advance the terms of reference within which it may review its programs and develop its annual budget requests. Specific information may have to be given as regards the scope and character of construction to be permitted in that year, limitations imposed on new activities, and need for economy in certain areas of expenditure.

The problem of choice among functions, programs, and projects is not dealt with here except in very general terms. We may, however, mention that the choice between sectors or functions is determined largely by the existing structure of the economy and the interdependence among its various parts.17 At this macrolevel, physical and economic constraints,18 such as shortages of administrative skills, are much more important than financial constraints.

Choice among projects or systems of related projects within a function should be made on the basis of some sort of cost-benefit calculation.19 The costs to be incurred in constructing and operating a project and the point of time at which expenditure will be made must be carefully identified. The fact that present commitments usually result in a stream of future costs is often neglected. The cost stream has to be met with a similar stream of benefits specifying the time period when they are expected to accrue. The benefits from a project comprise not only the direct output of the project but also its contribution to other objectives of development policy. This obviously makes the task of assigning money values to the benefits more difficult. Moreover, intangible considerations—political, social, psychological—play a dominant role in the decision-making process. Cost-benefit analysis may therefore prove to be, except in a few instances of commercial projects, beyond the reach of practical application. Nevertheless, the logical framework it offers focuses attention of decision makers on the problems involved in project selection by evaluating efficiency in real terms and on the basis of unit costs.20

The cost-benefit streams, where it is possible to calculate them, should then be discounted to the present. The reason for discounting to the present is to allow for the fact that benefits enjoyed in the present are more attractive than those to be enjoyed in the future, while costs that will have to be incurred in the future are easier to bear than those that must be incurred immediately. This is the more so as there may be larger supplies of resources that can be drawn upon in the future.

A crucial question in such an exercise is the determination of the rate of discount21 to be used in the calculation of costs and benefits. There is no hard and fast rule in this respect. The rate to be chosen depends on the time preference of the community. In developing countries, where available resources are meager and expectation of life is short, it is reasonable to assume a high social time preference that would favor quick-maturing investments rather than long-term gestation projects. On the other hand, the concern over the long-run interest of the community makes a low rate of discount appropriate. The government will have to strike a balance between the immediate needs of the population and the long-run aspirations of the community.

It is primarily the responsibility of planning agencies to proffer advice on these problems of choice. In reviewing the projects for inclusion in the annual budget, however, certain practical considerations may dictate the sequence of project selection to be included in the budget. A project assigned to a particular year may be one of a sequence of related projects included in previous years, and any change regarding the inclusion of this project in the budget may necessitate adjustment in the whole program. For example, a change in the sequence of a certain educational project may cause disturbances over the whole educational program. Technological considerations also may not permit the phasing of projects, such as the building of dams. But, on the whole, there is a large degree of flexibility in projects to allow for any necessary annual adjustments.

Unlike traditional budget review, which centers attention on cash disbursements and “input” elements of a project, such as pay and allowances, construction, and maintenance, the budget function must now serve as a technique of management, concerned primarily with objectives or “outputs” and with relating these objectives to the costs or “inputs.”

The principal objective of budget review and analysis should be to attain fulfillment of the plan at the lowest possible cost in time and money. It is, therefore, of paramount importance that the concept of unit cost, rough as it may be, must be brought into the center of budget operations. An awareness of the cost elements should be one of the basic qualifications of budget analysts. It may be said that cost consciousness has never really been completely neglected in traditional budget practices. But the important point is that it should be a continuous and a routine matter to have a budget system that would force government departments and public agencies to examine their operations in terms of output, and relate cost to output throughout the execution phase. When the budget is put together, there is little time for rigorous analysis and considered judgment, still less to gather data and to engage in careful review of alternatives.

To allow for such analysis, departmental budget requests must be submitted on project basis and related to programs and functions. Budget requests must provide information on such factors as the objectives of the project; the amount of work to be done; the work schedule; and the quantity of resources required in terms of personnel, supplies, and their costs, including the foreign exchange component of each project. In changing the estimates, factors such as price levels and inability to realize revenue estimates must be specified. The following format for development projects is given as an example of the information required for budgetary analysis.

A Format for Development Projects

  • 1. Project and sector

  • 2. The Ministry or the organization that has prepared the project

  • 3. The Ministry or the organization that will execute the project

  • 4. A brief description of the project giving its purpose, its place in the development plan, and the manner in which it will be implemented

  • 5. The period required for the execution of the project

  • 6. The cost of the project

    • Foreign exchange expenditure

    • Local expenditure

    • Total

  • 7. Annual phasing of the expenditure

Foreign ExchangeLocal
ExpenditureExpenditureTotal
1st year
2nd year
3rd year
4th year
etc.
Total
  • 8. Technical feasibility of the project (including material and personnel requirements of the project)

  • 9. Benefits to be derived from the project (including revenue on completion of the project)

  • 10. For new projects, the proposed date of commencement of work on the project

  • 11. For projects under way

    • The date on which work on the project was started

    • The present stage of work

    • The amount spent to this date on the project

CapitalOther
YearPersonnelExpenditureExpensesTotal
Total
  • 12. Details of expenditure

    • Personnel emoluments

    • Preliminary expenditure on surveys and investigations

    • Land

    • Equipment and machinery

    • Construction charges

    • Transportation charges

    • Contractor charges/consultant fees

    • Other

    • Total

  • 13. Annual recurring expenditure on completion of the project

  • 14. Other relevant information

In reviewing the requests, the budget agency must bring to bear on departmental estimates all known facts about the department, including the management and financing of its services. The success of the system depends on budget examiners who are capable of being a source of reliable information and sound judgment on the operations of the various agencies.

Budget implementation and control

Traditionally, budget implementation has been conceived primarily in terms of financial control. This emphasis was and still is well justified and important. But as we have concerned ourselves in budget preparation with the actual work to be done, and with costs and benefits, we must also concern ourselves in budget execution with the accomplishment of objectives at the lowest possible cost. Thus, it becomes necessary to relate legal control of funds to control of operations for each project included in the budget.

Too often the cost element involved in prolonging the period of implementation is neglected. As a result, the community bears a greater strain than necessary owing to additional costs involved, increase in interest charges, and a longer gestation period, with no prospective increase in benefits. To avoid unnecessary delays, the release of funds for operations may be tied in some way to the progress of the work and the estimated cost of the project. It must be done in such a way as to assure that expenditure is made in conformity not only with the legal requirements but also with efficiency, and with the need for necessary adjustments during the implementation period.

Funds may, for example, be allotted quarterly by projects on the basis of the scheduled phases of the work. The quarterly allotment of funds should be related to the accounting and reporting system of agencies, which must provide the information needed in order to determine the prospective allotment policies and amounts for each project. The data must show the results of operations under previously authorized allotments and compare actual results with expectations, indicating the reasons for any surplus or deficit, so to speak, in promised performance as envisaged in the budget plan.

Too often departments indulge in a last-minute flurry of spending in the fourth quarter of the year to prevent carry-over of funds, as this may be interpreted to mean that the agency was unable to meet its targets or that it would not need as much as it had requested in the previous year’s budget. The budget department may also be given authority to withhold or to reduce allotments of funds already made, as a measure against such wasteful use of public funds in order to provide for possible emergencies.

Though the transfer of funds between projects within the same program may be allowed if the objectives of the program can thereby be advanced, the transfer from one program to another by executive departments should be discouraged, since this would usually imply a major departure from approved policy and, therefore, must be a decision for the political authorities.

In the settlement and audit of the accounts at the end of the year, there should be an attempt to ascertain the performance of agencies in terms of objectives and costs. Such data are needed to find out the reasons for the success or failure of the various programs, and thereby to assist in the programing and budgeting activities of subsequent years. Existing literature offers few clues on performance criteria, particularly as they apply to less developed economies. One may, however, measure the efficiency with which a project is carried out by one’s own past performance, by performance of other units doing a comparable job, or by the establishment of reasonable norms and standards.

Another aspect of control relates to the appraisal of the effects of actual budget implementation on the economy as a whole. It requires analysis of national income magnitudes and the impact of the budget on their level and structure, in order to ensure that the stability of the economy and the planned balance in its structure is not distorted.22 We would expect that such an analysis would point out alternatives that may be adopted during the remaining period of the plan. Control to this end is the responsibility of both the planning agency and the budget authorities.

The integrated system of budget control discussed in this section would help to appraise the achievement of objectives, ensure propriety in government expenditure, and promote cost consciousness.

Budget procedure

Even minor changes in the procedures through which the budget is prepared can be as important to plan-budget coordination as more dramatic reforms in budget accounts and techniques. The evaluation of the budget process should start by identifying the successive stages in budget making on the basis of the nature of the decisions required at each stage and the technique of operation most suitable for each of the various stages.23

In light of the economic considerations discussed previously, it would seem that the first logical step in expenditure policies is the determination of the level of total public expenditure, depending on the magnitude of resources available to the government in that year and the current situation of the economy. The second stage is that of disaggregating total public expenditure in a more refined way among the various functional categories or sectors. The interrelationship among the sectors, as envisaged in the plan, is of paramount importance at this stage in deciding on the priorities to be accorded to the major fields of government activities in the annual budget. The number of details at this stage may be considerable, depending on the functions or sectors distinguished by the plan. The third stage is that of budgeting proper. It is the stage at which the macroeconomic decisions of planning are translated into specific operations. It involves studying and selecting programs and projects that have to fill the sectors’ and subsectors’ totals.

The breakdown of the budget process in such a way has definite advantages. First, the solution of the various problems relating to the budget in a number of successive steps becomes a less complicated task than the consideration of all budgetary problems within an integrated system of data at one time. Second, in a system of budgeting by stages, it is easy to follow the evolution of the budget framework and to determine at what points in the process policy decisions relating to the long-term plan or the annual budget are required. Third, budgeting in stages corresponds rather closely to the functions and organization of work of the planning and budgeting authorities, suggesting where and when the two authorities should coordinate their decisions. For example, the first stage obviously requires the full participation and cooperation of the planning agency, the budget department, the monetary authorities, and independent public agencies. In the second stage, the executive departments play a greater role in the budget process. Only in the third stage will detailed information be required at the level of each program and project.

The first stage

Though it is obvious that the rational point of departure in budgeting is the determination of the over-all level of public expenditure, this should not be taken to mean a definite and isolated first step chronologically. In fact, the whole budget procedure must be regarded as a backward and forward process linking one stage with another, and continuous exercise in successive approximation as well as successive coordination. For instance, it may not be feasible to decide finally on the level of expenditure without having some notion of the expenditure needs of various sectors (second stage) and of various projects (third stage). Nevertheless, the first stage should be regarded as the starting point in budget making. The apparent paradox can be dealt with by organizing the budget procedure in such a way that all departments and program administrators are informed well in advance by the budget and planning agencies of the probable trends in expenditure policies and priorities for the ensuing budget year. This would allow the process of budgeting to continue simultaneously from the upper and lower levels of the government without the risk of major changes in final demands and estimates. Preliminary work during this early period in the process may be considered as tentative, leading to definite decisions in the first stage.

The second stage

Once the target figure for over-all public expenditure is arrived at, the distribution of the available funds among the main fields of government activities can then be made in accordance with the long-term policy for development. For each function, a ceiling will have to be established for operating expenses and for investment expenditure. The total volume of expenditure at this stage may prove to be too high in comparison with the earlier computations made in the first stage. It may then be necessary to repeat the previous rounds of calculations until a balance is obtained. The adjustments to be made in the relative weight accorded to the various sectors or functions is something for the planning agency to work out, on the basis of the economic interdependence among the sectors and the political factors involved. At this stage we would expect the planning agency and higher government authorities to play a greater role in the budget process. Budgeters may have to accept the priorities of the sectors as given.

The third stage

The third stage is essentially one of project preparation and appraisal. The reader is referred back to the section on budget review and analysis (pp. 74-78) for the appropriate technique. Once projects have been ranked, they should be compared with the function’s estimate made in the second stage. If, for example, a total volume of output of X (school places, hospital beds, etc.) with a level of Y investment was decided upon in the second stage, we may include in the budget so many projects in the field of health or education until together they produce output X and require investment equal to Y, There may, of course, be reasons to revise the distribution of funds made in the second stage from data collected in the third stage.

The previous discussion on procedure suggests that there is a direct relationship among the type of information needed, the techniques to be used, and the formal aspects of budget procedures. The acceptance of long-term planning and the idea of concentrating on accomplishments were also found to affect the order in which decisions should be taken. The implication of the suggested procedure for the administrative and organizational structure of the government has been ignored in this paper. However, it has been implicit throughout the consideration of this subject that two separate agencies are responsible for planning and budgeting, respectively. In the first place, this arrangement seems to be the actual situation in most countries. Second, much of the work of the budget unit involves day-to-day operations of financial control, while the planning unit is required to be free from administrative and executive work in order to devote itself to the highly technical work of formulating plans and evaluating results.

As to the question of the location of the two agencies there are a number of proposals; some advocate the presence of the planning agency in the chief executive’s office, while others prefer that it be in the treasury or set up as a separate ministry or agency. Each of these proposals has its merits and demerits. It is the opinion of the writer that in this matter no one solution is preferable to another. The choice must be made in the light of a country’s constitutional, political, and administrative characteristics.

IV. Concluding Remarks

In countries where the public sector activities are the most important elements in the plan, it is particularly important to have an efficient system of budget appraisal and control. The techniques and procedures for budget-plan coordination discussed in this paper are essentially illustrative and may be applied by governments in different ways. Not all of them will be effective or even appropriate for every country. Differences in the size of the public sector, availability of trained personnel, political traditions, and popular attitudes may be decisive in determining whether a particular technique or procedure is worth trying; and measures that would be successful if properly adapted to the administrative environment may prove disappointing if transplanted without regard to the special circumstances under which they must operate.

Politique budgétaire, planification du développement et établissement du budget annuel

Résumé

Dans cette étude, l’auteur examine quelques-uns des problèmes que pose la coordination des prévisions budgétaires annuelles et de la planification du développement et, d’une manière plus générale, la présentation des comptes budgétaires permettant l’analyse économique. II s’occupe essentiellement des pays en voie de développement, pour lesquels le budget est le plus important instrument de politique économique.

Après une brève introduction, la première partie de l’article étudie la nature des fluctuations économiques et leurs répercussions sur une économie en voie de développement, et conclut en énonçant quelques principes généraux d’une politique financière susceptible d’assurer le développement économique et la stabilité. Dans une deuxième partie, l’auteur étudie l’incidence de ces principes sur les comptes budgétaires et propose une conception de ces comptes qui faciliterait l’analyse des effets des transactions de l’Etat sur la demande globale, la balance des paiements et le développement économique. La troisième partie traite de la coordination de la planification et du budget au niveau de la microéconomie par la rationalisation de la structure du budget, l’analyse des coûts et des béneficés, l’évaluation des résultats et la procédure utilisée pour l’établissement du budget et pour la planification.

Dans la dernière partie de l’étude, l’auteur met en garde contre le danger d’utiliser sans discernement des techniques et des procédures qui peuvent convenir aux pays industriels, mais non aux pays en voie de développement, dont l’armature administrative est insuffisante.

Política fiscal, planificación del desarrollo, y presupuestos anuales

Resumen

Este trabajo trata de algunos de los problemas que se plantean al coordinar los presupuestos oficiales anuales y la planificación del desarrollo y, en sentido más amplio, al proyectar las cuentas fiscales de modo que satisfagan las necesidades del análisis económico. Se ocupa principalmente de los países menos desarrollados ya que en esos países el presupuesto es el instrumento más importante de la política económica.

Tras una breve introducción, la primera parte de este trabajo examina la naturaleza de las fluctuaciones económicas y los efectos de las mismas en una economía en desarrollo, y termina presentando algunos principios generales de política fiscal para el desarrollo y la estabilidad ecónomica. La segunda parte examina lo que esos principios significan para las cuentas fiscales, y sugiere una disposición de las cuentas presupuestarias que facilitaría el análisis del impacto de las transacciones gubernamentales sobre la demanda agregada, la balanza de pagos, y el desarrollo económico. La tercera parte del trabajo se ocupa de la coordination del plan y del presupuesto a nivel microeconómico mediante la rationalizatión de la estructura del presupuesto, análisis costos-beneficios, evaluation de actuaciones, y aspectos de procedimiento de los presupuestos y de la planificación.

La última parte del trabajo es una advertencia contra el uso indiscriminado de técnicas y procedimientos que quizá resulten apropiados para los países desarrollados, pero no para los países menos desarrollados cuya capacidad administrativa es limitada.

Mr. Khalid, Senior Economist in the Fiscal Affairs Department, is a graduate of Khartoum University and of the University of Saskatchewan. He was formerly with the United Nations Fiscal and Financial Branch. He also served as UN fiscal expert in Somalia and was on the faculty of the Institute of National Planning in Cairo.

See the Report of the President’s Commission on Budget Concepts (Washington, October 1967).

There is extensive literature on this topic. The reader is referred to any of the numerous textbooks on macroeconomics. For an early exposition that takes into consideration how fiscal policy grew out of modern economic theory and experience, see The New Economics: Keynes’ Influence on Theory and Public Policy, ed. by Seymour E. Harris (New York, 1947); see also Arthur Smithies, “Federal Budgeting and Fiscal Policy,” in A Survey of Contemporary Economics, ed. by Howard S. Ellis (Philadelphia, 1948), pp. 174-209.

The phrase, and to a large extent the concept, was first introduced by Abba P. Lerner in “Functional Finance and the Federal Debt,” Social Research, Vol. 10 (1943), p. 39.

For a detailed study of the fluctuation of export earnings of developing countries, see United Nations, Department of Economic Affairs, Instability in Export Markets of Under-Developed Countries (E/2047/Rev. 1, ST/ECA/15), New York, September 1952, and Relative Prices of Exports and Imports of Underdeveloped Countries (Sales No.: 1949.II.B.3), Lake Success, N.Y., December 1949. See also Alasdair I. MacBean, “The Short-Term Consequences of Export Instability to Underdeveloped Countries,” Public Policy (Harvard University Press, 1964), pp. 170-99.

Other measures of stabilization that may be said to be part of fiscal policy and that are not dealt with here include the use of government marketing agencies for the stabilization of the income of primary producers. For a discussion of the relationship between such stabilization schemes and fiscal policy in general, see P. T. Bauer and F. W. Paish, “The Reduction of Fluctuations in the Incomes of Primary Producers,” The Economic Journal, Vol. LXII (1952), pp. 750-80.

See Jeffrey G. Williamson, “Public Expenditure and Revenue: An International Comparison,” The Manchester School of Economic and Social Studies, Vol. XXIX (1961), pp. 43-56; N.T. Wang, “Some Problems of International Comparison of Public Social Expenditures,” The Indian Economic Review, Vol. II (February 1955), pp. 23-52.

A full account of the theory of built-in stabilizers is given by Richard A. Musgrave, The Theory of Public Finance: A Study in Public Economy (New York, 1959), Chapter 21, pp. 501-25.

See Richard Goode, George E. Lent, and P.D. Ojha, “Role of Export Taxes in Developing Countries,” Staff Papers, Vol. XIII (1966), pp. 453-503.

For a further discussion of the efficacy of fiscal policies in developing countries, see Richard Goode, “Impact of Fiscal Measures,” in Fiscal and Monetary Problems in Developing States, ed. by David Krivine (New York, 1967). pp. 238-52.

There are various ways in which the simplified scheme presented in the text can be elaborated or improved upon for analytical purposes. For different examples and a much more comprehensive scheme of government accounts that involve imputations for such items as depreciation and pension liabilities, see United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, A Manual for Economic and Functional Classification of Government Transactions (Sales No.: 58.XVI.2), New York, 1958. In the last analysis, a scheme of classification should be decided upon on a practicable basis and in relation to the needs and capabilities of each country.

For an excellent discussion of the relationship between current and capital expenditure in development planning, see W. Arthur Lewis, “Planning Public Expenditure,” National Economic Planning (National Bureau of Economic Research, Columbia University Press, 1967).

United Nations, Economic Commission for Latin America, A Manual for Programme and Performance Budgeting (E.CN.12/BRW.2/L.5), May 1962, p. 17.

United Nations, A Manual for Economic and Functional Classification of Government Transactions (cited in footnote 10).

For an extensive discussion of the budget’s role in planning and the inadequacy of traditional budgetary techniques, see Albert Waterston, Development Planning: Lessons of Experience (Baltimore, Maryland, 1965), pp. 201-48.

For a discussion of identification of programs within an agency, see United Nations, A Manual for Programme and Performance Budgeting (cited in footnote 12), paras. 38-42, pp. 20-21.

Roland N. McKean and Melvin Anshen, “Problems, Limitations, and Risks,” Program Budgeting: Program Analysis and the Federal Budget, ed. by David Novick (A Rand Corporation-Sponsored Research Study, Washington, 1965), pp. 218-36.

See Ursula K. Hicks, Development Finance: Planning and Control (Oxford University Press, 1965), pp. 18-23.

For a very lucid exposition of the physical and economic constraints of planning in less developed countries, see Andrew M. Watson and Joel B. Dirlan, “The Impact of Underdevelopment on Economic Planning,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. LXXIX (1965), pp. 167-94.

A discussion of general principles and examples of particular applications of cost-benefit techniques is given by A.R. Prest and R. Turvey, “Cost-Benefit Analysis: A Survey,” The Economic Journal, Vol. LXXV (1965), pp. 683-731.

See Gene H. Fisher, “The Role of Cost-Utility Analysis in Program Budgeting,” in Program Budgeting (cited in footnote 16), pp. 39-40.

The discount rate, of course, should not be confused with the interest rate. Interest is one item of cost and often a minor one. The fact that a loan for a particular project can be secured at a low interest rate does not necessarily make the project worthwhile. The efficiency of the project depends on the total cost and benefits. See M.S. Feldstein, “The Social Time Preference Discount Rate in Cost Benefit Analysis,” The Economic Journal, Vol. LXXIV (1964), pp. 360-79.

Alan T. Peacock, “Economic Analysis and Government Expenditure Control,” pp. 1-16, and Ursula K. Hicks, “Epilogue: Choice, Efficiency and Control in the Public Services,” pp. 146-63, in Public Expenditure: Appraisal and Control, ed. by Alan T. Peacock and D.J. Robertson (Edinburgh and London, 1963).

See H.J. Hofstra, New Techniques of Budget Preparation and Management: General Report (International Institute of Administrative Sciences, Brussels, 1965). This was prepared on the basis of reports from 24 countries and submitted to the Thirteenth International Congress of Administrative Sciences, which was held in Paris, July 20-23, 1965.

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