Transparency of Law Making and Fiscal Democracy in the Middle East

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Fiscal democracy is the capacity of the legislature to make budgetary choices in response to the emerging needs of citizens. This study indicates that, in Middle Eastern countries, there are specific limitations to fiscal democracy in the process of law-making: most notably the lack of attention to financial impact assessments (FIAs). Without systematic FIAs, mandatory out-of-budget allocations are inadvertently included in public spending, as they do not require parliamentary approval within the regular budgeting process. The low level of effective citizens' engagement in the process of law-making worsens the situation. Budgetary decisions are not well informed by national priorities and preferences. This study utilizes the dataset of the Open Budget Index (OBI) to measure the quality of the law-making process of the budget law in a sample of Middle Eastern countries. The study concludes with recommendations on mapping the law-making process to increase budget transparency. © 2019, Public Sector Economics.


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