Scrutinizing Public Expenditures Assessing the Performance of Public Accounts Committees

39 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2005

See all articles by Rick Stapenhurst

Rick Stapenhurst

McGill University - School of Continuing Studies

Vinod B. Sahgal

World Bank

Riccardo Pelizzo

Nazarbayev University

Date Written: May 2005

Abstract

In 2002, David McGee wrote a comprehensive report on two important elements in the system of public financial accountability, namely the office of the Auditor General and the parliamentary oversight committee commonly referred to as the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). The purpose of the present paper is to deepen McGee's analysis of PACs. In particular, we define PAC success and identify those factors that impact on PAC performance. We use data that were collected by the World Bank Institute in 2002, when a survey questionnaire was sent to 51 national and state/provincial parliaments in Commonwealth countries in Asia and Australasia and Canada and the United Kingdom. We find that the institutional factors which most account for the success of the PACs are the focus on government's financial activity rather than its policies, the power to investigate all past and present government expenses, the power to follow up on government action in response to its recommendations, and its relationship with the Auditors General.

Suggested Citation

Stapenhurst, Rick and Sahgal, Vinod B. and Pelizzo, Riccardo, Scrutinizing Public Expenditures Assessing the Performance of Public Accounts Committees (May 2005). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 3613, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=754229 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.754229

Rick Stapenhurst

McGill University - School of Continuing Studies ( email )

Montreal, QC
Canada

Vinod B. Sahgal (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Riccardo Pelizzo

Nazarbayev University ( email )

53 Kabanbay Batyra Avenue
Astana, 010000
Kazakhstan

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