Fiscal Transparency: Global Norms, Domestic Laws, and the Politics of Budgets

Brooklyn Journal of International Law, Vol. 34, No. 3, p. 797, 2009

Posted: 21 Feb 2010

See all articles by Lisa Philipps

Lisa Philipps

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Miranda Stewart

University of Melbourne - Law School; Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

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, K34

Suggested Citation

Philipps, Lisa and Stewart, Miranda, Fiscal Transparency: Global Norms, Domestic Laws, and the Politics of Budgets (2009). Brooklyn Journal of International Law, Vol. 34, No. 3, p. 797, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1555890

Lisa Philipps (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/faculty/Philipps_Lisa_C.html

Miranda Stewart

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

Melbourne, Victoria 3010
Australia
+61 3 8344 6544 (Phone)

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy ( email )

7 Liversidge Street
Lennox Crossing
Canberra, ACT 0200
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://https://crawford.anu.edu.au/people/academic/miranda-stewart

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