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.
Based on the experience of budget management reforms that have been introduced over the last two decades in a large number of member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) it is not uncommon to find emerging market economies moving toward performance-based budgeting where measures of performance play a key role. While it might be tempting for middle income countries to press forward to adopt a full-blown outputs and outcomes framework, there are some risks in the move. Such a change in orientation is only possible once managers have had adequate experience in refining the definition of programs and their objectives, and on this basis developing a comprehensive system of performance measurement. It is argued in this paper that to develop a comprehensive performance measurement system requires resolving a number of issues involved in clearly defining how to measure "performance" as well as overcoming a number of technical issues in the design and use of measures of that "performance." However, perhaps the most critical step is introducing a system whereby performance information can influence resource allocation decisions, i.e., establishing a performance management system. Based on international experience, this paper reviews each of these hurdles in moving toward a performance management framework.