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Economists working on fiscal policy and fiscal management need a good understanding of how the expenditure side of the budget is planned, prepared, and executed.1 This publication is designed for those interested in the macroeconomic impact of such budget processes, rather than in the perhaps more familiar microeconomic perspective of expenditure policies.


Before considering how the expenditure side of the government’s budget is planned, prepared, and executed, it is necessary first to clarify the coverage and sources of data on public spending. This brief section discusses three critical, if basic, questions: What is the appropriate definition of government expenditure from a macroeconomic perspective? What are the data sources for public expenditure aggregates? How can expenditure projections for a short-term perspective best be prepared?