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date: 18 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Public expenditure and taxation are at the core of the relationship between governments and citizens. Yet transparency in fiscal policy has been relatively neglected, compared to its significance in other policy areas, notably monetary policy. This chapter first discusses what is meant by transparency, then goes on to explore the underlying rationale and theoretical models for having it. The varied experience of fiscal transparency and the role of international organizations, such as the International Monetary Fund and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, in encouraging governments to implement it are reviewed. The principles that fiscal policy should seek to follow are discussed as is its role in the policy process, and the chapter concludes by highlighting issues on which further research might focus, such as how information disclosure affects policy making and the optimal degree of transparency.

Keywords: accountability of public spending, fiscal policy, fiscal rules, information disclosure and the “right to know, ” optimal transparency, time inconsistency and deficit bias

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