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Section 6

A Call to Action

This section offers some ideas for additional analysis of public financial management (PFM) based on PEFA data. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, and practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and others are encouraged to use PEFA data for their own initiatives. Those interested in using PEFA are also encouraged to reach out to the PEFA Secretariat to learn more about PEFA data, share their findings, or get up-to-date information from the PEFA website on any PEFA assessment.

PEFA Panel Data Set

Download the PEFA panel data set of publicly available assessment scores to learn more about global or country specific PFM performance and create your own charts.

Researchers are encouraged to reach out to the PEFA Secretariat.

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Ideas for Analysis

The following list of potential topics using PEFA data is based on the analysis of PEFA data presented in this report. The list is not meant to be exhaustive but instead to provide a platform of options for how to use PEFA data for analysis on PFM and related policy areas. Practitioners, policymakers, and researchers are encouraged to reach out to the PEFA Secretariat at to share their ideas and findings.

Fiscal risk analysis and public investment management.

The PEFA data shows that countries score relatively low on these indicators. During the COVID-19 global pandemic, what will this mean for economic stimulus packages and potential future liabilities for governments?

The relationship between budget transparency and budget reliability.

Does budget transparency translate to improved budget and revenue execution? Does it make forecasts more reliable?

Expenditure arrears and expenditure commitment controls.

The analysis shows that countries on average scored low for management of the stock of expenditure arrears (PI–22.1), but on average scored relatively high on expenditure management control (PI–25.2). Effective expenditure commitment controls would typically ensure that the government’s payment obligations remain within the limits set by the annual budget allocations and within projected cash availability, thereby avoiding the creation of expenditure arrears. However, the global PEFA data suggest a different story. It would be interesting to explore this issue further to determine what is causing countries to have a relatively high stock of expenditure arrears.

Delays in preparation, audit, and scrutiny of annual financial reports.

The PEFA data shows that countries typically prepare annual financial reports with a six-month delay compared to good international practice. Similar delays occur with the audit of financial reports by supreme audit institutions and the external scrutiny of reports by the legislature. The analyses could review the details of what is causing delays and what impact the delays might have on the budget process.

Legislative scrutiny of budget and audit reports.

The PEFA data reveals that legislatures perform better on scrutiny of budgets than on scrutiny of audit reports. But legislative scrutiny is relatively weak on average. It would be interesting to use the PEFA data in conjunction with other data sets to dig deeper into what aspects of legislative scrutiny could be improved and how.

Gender equality and gender responsive PFM.

As more countries carry out PEFA gender responsive PFM assessments, it would be interesting to investigate how countries perform on gender responsive PFM and the impact of gender responsive PFM on the gender gap and other social indicators.

Climate change resilient and responsive PFM.

The PEFA Secretariat is currently piloting a climate change responsive PFM assessment framework. Researchers, practitioners, and development partners are invited to analyze (i) how climate change interacts with PFM, and (ii) examples of how PFM can play a role in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Role of PFM in improving service delivery.

What is the relationship between PFM and service delivery, particularly in the education and health sectors? This topic has long been discussed but has been under-researched. It would be useful to identify which PFM tools and processes are most important to support service delivery in different contexts.

PFM at the subnational level.

PFM tools and processes at the subnational level are likely to be determined, or strongly influenced, by the central government, national legislation, or the constitution. If a national government scores strongly on a PEFA assessment, is it likely that subnational assessments in the same country are likely to be strong? Are subnational PEFA scores influenced by autonomy or the functions performed by subnational governments?

PFM performance of line ministries.

The assessment of PFM performance typically focuses on the role, functions, and performance of finance ministries. However, less information is collected and known about the capacities of line ministries in performing key PFM activities, such as costing proposed programs and services, preparing their budget, procuring goods and services, forecasting and releasing cash, reporting against planned expenditure and revenue, ensuring effective internal controls, and responding to findings and following up on recommendations issued by supreme audit institutions. What challenges do line ministries face in performing PFM activities? What support is required to strengthen their capacities? What impact would improving their PFM performance have on public service delivery?