Front Matter

Front Matter

Jack Diamond, and Barry Potter
Published Date:
July 1999
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© 1999 International Monetary Fund

Production: IMF Graphics Section

Cover design and figures: Luisa Menjivar-Macdonald

Cover photograph: Tony Stone Images

Typesetting: Choon Lee

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Guidelines for public expenditure management / editors, Barry H. Potter and Jack Diamond.

p. cm.

ISBN 9781557757876

1. Expenditures, Public. 2. Budget. 3. Government spending policy. 4. Finance, Public. I. Potter, Barry H. II. Diamond, Jack.

HJ7461.G85 1999




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When mission teams from the International Monetary Fund visit countries for either surveillance or program work, one person is usually designated as the “fiscal economist.” This economist’s duties extend over both the revenue and expenditure sides of the fiscal accounts.

Traditionally, economics training in public finances has focused more on tax than expenditure issues, and within expenditure, more on policy considerations than the more mundane matters of public expenditure management. Thus, many economists participating in their first IMF mission may have relatively little experience of practical issues in public expenditure management; typically, they face questions that are more about accounting and institutional structures than economic theory or policy.

For many years, the IMF’s Public Expenditure Management Division has answered specific questions raised by fiscal economists on such missions. Based on this experience, these guidelines arose from the need to provide a general overview of the principles and practices observed in three key aspects of public expenditure management: budget preparation, budget execution, and cash planning. For each aspect of public expenditure management, the guidelines identify separately the differing practices in four groups of countries—the francophone systems, the Commonwealth systems, Latin America, and those in the transition economies.

Following the preparation of an internal document for training and guidance purposes in early 1998, it was suggested that this document might be made more widely available to the public. This publication is thus intended for a general fiscal, or a general budget, advisor interested in the macroeconomic dimension of public expenditure management.


The authors wish to acknowledge the contributions from other members and former members of the Public Expenditure Management Division of the Fiscal Affairs Department, particularly Taryn Parry, José-Luis Ruiz, Véronique Bédague, and Ian Lienert. In addition, comments from G.A. Mackenzie, Sanjeev Gupta, and Adrienne Cheasty on earlier versions were especially helpful in assisting the authors in the preparation of the final text. Special thanks are due to Theresa Garrison for her patience and diligent production of many drafts of this manuscript and her editorial suggestions. Jeff Hayden of the External Relations Department edited the manuscript and coordinated its production.

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