Spending Reviews as an Instrument for Public Finance Management in OECD Countries: Theoretical Aspect
Authors: Nikolai A. Begchin, Olga V. Bogacheva, Oleg V. Smorodinov
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This article is focused on the conceptual framework of spending reviews. The authors claim that after the global financial crisis (2007–2008), the role of spending reviews in OECD countries has drastically increased. Originally a technical tool for the evaluation of government programs’ efficiency and effectiveness, it has evolved into the key instrument of public finance management. Many countries have started using such reviews both for the identification of inefficient expenditures/programs and for re-allocation of public resources in line with new medium-term policy priorities. The article examines the present-day interpretation of this concept, offers classification of spending reviews, analyzes legal environment and organizational models of planning and preparation of spending reviews in various OECD countries. As a result, the authors formulate a set of necessary conditions for the successful implementation of spending reviews, including legal, organizational and institutional conditions, and data requirements. Spending reviews should be integrated into the budget preparation process, stakeholders’ roles should be determined prior to conducting spending reviews, policy priorities should be clearly determined. As Russia moves towards adopting spending reviews as the key public expenditures management instrument, putting these pre-requisites in place becomes an immediate challenge.