Fiscal Transparency: Global Norms, Domestic Laws, and the Politics of Budgets
York University - Osgoode Hall Law School
University of Melbourne - Law School
Brooklyn Journal of International Law, Vol. 34, No. 3, p. 797, 2009
Since the early 1990s the issue of fiscal transparency has attracted increasing attention from international institutions, governments, and NGO's concerned with budgets and fiscal policy reform. This Article offers a critical analysis of the meaning and purposes of fiscal transparency in light of developing international norms. It is argued that fiscal transparency norms as they are currently promulgated generally focus on fiscal discipline and on providing information to establish credibility for financial markets, investors and aid donors. These aspects of transparency are important but tend to ignore the political nature of budgeting in domestic and international contexts. We find that fiscal transparency norms thus far have done less to enable distributive justice and democratic participation in budget decision making. As such, the 'best practices' which currently dominate this field will be of limited help in generating the political consensus needed to ensure equitable development.
Keywords: budgeting, fiscal policy, taxation, transparency, development, soft law, international tax, governance, distributive justice, transnational norms, economic policy, democracy
JEL Classification: K33, K34Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 21, 2010
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