Public spending

Across the world, political leaders have sought to show how public spending contributes to concrete results like better public services, which citizens can experience and benefit from. Coupled with a steadily growing number of channels through which citizens can communicate their “voices,” political leaders are facing increasing pressure to do more with less resources. In this context, how can civil servants and leaders holding office, particularly the ones who prepare budgets, manage this challenge? In Malaysia, public finance specialists have turned to a sophisticated reform called “performance-based budgeting” to link the allocation of budgets with performance. This aims to shift the conversation from “How much did you spend?” to “How well did you spend it?” or “What did you achieve with it?” While the budget process can be a messy negotiation among competing interests, performance-based budgeting strives to be... —