Cases in Public Policy Analysis

By George M. Guess; Paul G. Farnham | Go to book overview

GLOSSARY

Accrual Accounting System: Captures the cost of programs in resources consumed and obligations to pay. To prevent overestimation of revenues, governments often use “modified accrual” systems—cash-based revenues and accrued expenditures.

Associated Cost Approach: An indirect method of estimating the benefits of a program or public policy that focuses on the costs associated with the outcomes of the program. Differences in travel costs could be used to value the benefits of a wilderness recreation area.

Audit: A systematic examination of resource use to determine legality and accuracy of financial transactions and whether financial statements represent the actual financial position and operations of the government entity.

Budget Classification: Breakdown of a budget into mutually exclusive categories for such purposes as control (e.g., objects of expense like salaries and supplies); organizational responsibility (e.g., departments); sectoral planning and allocations (e.g., agriculture, education); activity measurement (e.g., workload in passenger miles of bus service); efficiency measurement (e.g., units costs in operating costs per passenger mile of bus service); and effectiveness (i.e., attainment of policy objectives—percentage of the population with adequate health care coverage or access).

Budget Outlays: Actual payments of budget obligations through checks issued or interest accrued on public debt.

Budgetary Obligations: Commitments made by government through such recorded transactions as orders placed, contracts awarded, or services rendered.

Capital Budgeting: Planning and allocation for durable assets that provide longer-term benefits (e.g., highways, health care, and educational facilities).

Cash-Accounting System: Captures flow of funds into and out of budgetary accounts based on actual receipts and outlays.

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