Fiscal Transparency and Accountability in the Public Management Methodology

Alvydas Raipa, Eglė Backūnaitė


The growing recognition of the importance of strengthening the civic society to perform its designated role has been an important factor in shaping the debate on fiscal transparency. The series of financial crises experienced during the last decades have raised two issues about public policy making, and the need to reduce high vulnerability. Public policy making, in general, and the national fiscal system, in particular has become a unit of analysis.
Transparency enables all stakeholders in a country to see the structure and functions of the government, its policy intentions and fiscal projections, and accounts for past periods. The main purpose of opening these windows is to render those inside accountable and answerable for their decisions and actions. Accountability is the obligation to render an account for the responsibility conferred.
Fiscal transparency, reflecting a system of well organized windows on public policy making and policy implementation, is not an end in itself, but is a means contributing to effective and comprehensive accountability that aims at securing full answerability from governments and their officials. Greater fiscal transparency is seen as a means of improving economic governance arrangements in ways, which, by promoting fiscal stability, will in turn improve the functioning of the government sector and facilitate improvements in the economic environment for the private sector.
Accountability imposes discipline on national authorities by ensuring that the authorities are answerable to the general public and market participants for their decisions. Accountability thereby lessens the likelihood that national authorities will make imprudent policy decisions. More particularly, transparency and accountability should result in better–informed public debate about the design and objectives of fiscal and monetary policies and thereby strengthen the credibility and public understanding of macroeconomic policies and choices, as well as the quality of decisions taken. To facilitate the efficient allocation of resources and the effectiveness of public policies, fiscal and monetary authorities should be transparent about their policy objectives and their strategies for achieving them. Transparency helps the general public and market participants hold national authorities accountable for their policy decisions.
Fiscal transparency and accountability are crosscutting attributes of all public sector financial structures and processes. They can be enhanced through a public financial management improvement program.
This article explores the meaning of fiscal transparency, by examining its structure and evaluating criteria for assessing the degree of fiscal transparency. It explores the link between transparency and accountability, developing the distinction between event and process transparency. This paper examines financial aspects of accountability, explains the growing demand for fiscal accountability, and details the benefits and costs.


fiscal transparency; fiscal accountability; the system of fiscal transparency and accountability; the standard of fiscal transparency

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"Public Policy and Administration" ISSN online 2029-2872 / ISSN print 1648-2603