The Role of Parliament in Curbing Corruption

By Rick Stapenhurst; Niall Johnston et al. | Go to book overview

6
Effective Financial Scrutiny

Joachim Wehner


Introduction

Fiscal transparency has become a major theme in the international debate on good governance. This debate has focused mainly on deriving standards for the provision of relevant budgetary and audit information by the government (IMF 2001; OECD 2002). There is less of a consensus to date on how parliaments can contribute to fiscal transparency. Some view parliaments as spendthrift and part of the problem of poor budgetary practices (for example, Bagehot 1963). From this perspective, it is the executive that is the true guardian of public money and guarantor of sound administration. However, recent case studies strongly suggest that budgeting without effective checks and balances can provide an open door to corruption and poor fiscal performance (Santiso and Belgrano 2004; Burnell 2001). Proponents of the latter perspective emphasize the budget’s function as a tool for holding the executive to account. A lack of accountability is widely regarded as a precondition for corruption (Klitgaard 1998).

Framing the debate over financial scrutiny as a struggle of executive versus legislature can be misleading, however, because sound budgeting requires both a competent executive and a legislature that has the capacity for effective scrutiny. In democratic countries, ultimate accountability of the executive is to the electorate; however, several years can pass between elections. During this interval, “horizontal accountability” (O’Donnell 1998) in the form of independent checks and balances plays an essential role in safeguarding government integrity. In a general sense, accountability can be thought of as an obligation to answer for the execution of one’s assigned responsibilities (Murray and Nijzink 2002). In practice, accountability has quite often proven a “notoriously elusive idea” (White and Hollingsworth 1999).

The budget process is a principal mechanism used by legislatures to hold the executive to account. Other practices for legislative oversight include, for example, question time and commissions of inquiry (Pelizzo and Stapenhurst 2004). The budget process is a fundamental accountability mechanism because of its periodic nature and because it encompasses all government activities. In modern democracies, the approval of the budget is typically required on an annual basis and follows an explicit timetable. This means that the legislature has a regular and predictable opportunity to scrutinize the policy and administration of the government.

-81-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Role of Parliament in Curbing Corruption
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 264

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.