Budget Strengthening Initiative

May 2010 to March 2018

The Budget Strengthening Initiative draws on expertise from across ODI and beyond to support fragile and conflict-affected states to build more effective, accountable and transparent budgets.


Public investment management

Toolkits | November 2016 | Mark Miller and Shakira Mustapha
This public financial management (PFM) introductory guide offers finance or planning ministries in low-capacity contexts insight into improving public investment management.

Fiscal decentralisation

Toolkits | November 2016 | Tom Hart and Bryn Welham
This public financial management (PFM) introductory guide defines fiscal decentralisation and discusses the role of central government in a decentralised system.

The ministry of finance ‘challenge function’

Toolkits | November 2016 | Sierd Hadley and Bryn Welham
This public finance management introductory guide summaries existing literature on the challenge function, how it works in different countries as well as options for reform.

Political science welcomes William Easterly

Articles and blogs | 8 May 2014 | Philipp Krause
'Easterly is not arguing for a massive all-or-nothing rights and democracy agenda to replace the current state of affairs. He is explicitly calling for tinkering and experimentation to replace grandiose development plans and goals'.
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Giving institutional reforms a chance to succeed

Articles and blogs | 12 February 2014 | Ahmed Ali
'It’s now common dogma among development experts that institutions are central to improving the welfare of the poor. However, after decades of reforms and billions spent in aid, success stories of institutional development are few and failures all too common.'
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The service delivery agenda: beware, there be doughnuts!

Articles and blogs | 27 January 2014 | Philipp Krause
'Public services don’t work in all sorts of ways. Many service delivery problems are knowable and understandable; more knowledge enables those who care to come up with better solutions. But there can always be too much of a good thing.'
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Budget transparency in Uganda

Comment | 28 August 2013 | Ryan Flynn interviews Tim Williamson
The Ugandan government has recently launched a new website that puts an unprecendented amount of information on the country's finances into the public domain. ODI's Tim Williamson, who worked closely with the Ministry of Finance on the site, talks to Ryan...
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Unblocking results in Tanzanian rural water supply

Comment | 14 August 2013 | Helen Tilley
Research Fellow Helen Tilley interviews Rinus Van Klinken, acting Director of SNV Tanzania, to talk about the governance constraints he has encountered in his work on improving rural water supply in Tanzania, and the approaches he has adopted to overcome them.
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Unblocking results: can aid get public services flowing?

Public event | 3 June 2013 12:30 - 14:00 GMT+01 (BST)

This event will explore the findings and policy implications of the latest ODI research on how aid can be best packaged to support governance and institutional development. The research draws on case studies in Sierra Leone, Tanzania...


Linking public financial management dimensions to development priorities

Working and discussion papers | May 2013 | Bryn Welham, Philipp Krause and Edward Hedger
This paper outlines theoretical and empirical links between public financial management (PFM) functions and development objectives in the context of very low capacity environments. It outlines a list of possible capacity substitution and supplementation options that...

Managing natural resource revenues: the Timor-Leste Petroleum Fund

Research reports and studies | April 2013 | Alastair McKechnie
This note looks at the Timor-Lest Petroleum Fund, a sovereign wealth fund for managing natural resources. This research draws lessons from the Timor-Leste experience useful for governments facing similar natural resource management challenges.

What does debt mean for governance?

Articles and blogs | 25 January 2013 | Philipp Krause
'More effective governments are able to borrow more, and many do. Some that could, don’t. But hardly any governments that lack the corresponding level of effectiveness get away with high levels of debt.'
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Of institutions and butterflies

Articles and blogs | 3 December 2012 | Philipp Krause
'Institutional ventriloquism worsens capability traps because it keeps states from developing the autonomous capability to adapt and change. For states that are able to adapt and change on their own, isomorphic mimicry isn’t a problem.'
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Measuring good pooled funds in fragile states

Research reports and studies | November 2012 | Erin Coppin
This paper introduces an experimental methodology for an index that captures the performance of pooled funds in fragile states across the Paris Declaration principles: ownership, alignment, harmonisation, delivery of results, and mutual accountability.

Interview with Economic Advisor to the President of South Sudan

Podcasts and audio | 17 October 2012 | Ryan Flynn
‘Before the shutdown in oil production the [Government of South Sudan] was already very disturbed about the pattern of expenditure related to the implementation of government programmes…the shutdown fast-tracked measures to [implement] proper fiscal discipline.’
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Can aid address key governance constraints in public service delivery?

Working and discussion papers | September 2012 | Heidi Tavakoli with David Booth, Rebecca Simson and Helen Tilley
This Working Paper frames a branch of research by the Budget Strengthening Initiative (BSI) and the Center for Aid and Public Expenditure (CAPE) looking into how aid can best contribute to improving the delivery of public services in developing countries.

Common constraints and incentive problems in service delivery

Working and discussion papers | August 2012 | Leni Wild, Vikki Chambers, Maia King and Daniel Harris
There is growing recognition that, despite significant increases in resourcing, public service delivery is still failing in many developing countries. This review explores the existing evidence base in three sectors (education, health, water and sanitation) across...

The sequencing debate is over… or is it?

Comment | 17 August 2012 | Philipp Krause
'There seems to be an emerging consensus that advanced budget reforms should not be attempted in developing countries before budgetary basics have been soundly established. In many countries, this may well mean a focus on budgetary basics for the foreseeable...
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Laws, what are they good for?

Articles and blogs | 14 August 2012 | Philipp Krause
'The purpose of comprehensive legal reform in a fragile state actually begins to look a lot like it would in any other country. It is a means to consolidate and lock in a lengthy reform process, once everyone involved is reasonably secure about the new rules.'
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Time for a new deal for 'fragile states'

Comment | 29 November 2011 | Alastair McKechnie
'Building effective institutions can take decades, and each country must blend local culture with national identity and traditions to build institutions seen as legitimate by all citizens. In this way, fragile states...require a fundamentally different approach...
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A new aid deal for fragile states?

Public event | 10 October 2011 12:30 - 14:00 GMT+01 (BST)

This event will consider whether a new aid deal is needed for fragile states and what this deal might look like, bringing together a range of views from civil society, the research community and fragile states themselves.


Coordinating post-conflict aid in Southern Sudan

Working and discussion papers | September 2011 | Fiona Davies, Gregory Smith and Tim Williamson
This Background Note from ODI’s Budget Strengthening Initiative reviews the background to aid effectiveness in Southern Sudan.

Fragile states: measuring what makes a good pooled fund

Briefing papers | August 2011 | Erin Coppin, Marcus Manuel, Alastair McKechnie
This Project Briefing presents a potential tool for scoring and comparing the effectiveness of pooled funds, and applies the tool to funds in Afghanistan, South Sudan and Liberia.

Pooled funds scoring tool

Toolkits | August 2011 | Erin Coppin, Marcus Manuel, Alastair McKechnie
A tool for scoring pooled funds based on several indicators, including: ownership, alignment, harmonisation, delivery of results and mutual accountability.

The use of innovative aid instruments in support of peacebuilding and statebuilding

Working and discussion papers | May 2011 | Marcus Manuel, Alastair McKechnie, Maia Stead, Erin Coppin and Lisa Denney
Within this compilation, Working Paper 4 was prepared on behalf of the OECD International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Working Group on Aid Instruments to explore and provide recommendations for addressing challenges to effective cooperation in conflict...