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Budgeting Procedures and Democratic Ideals: An Evaluation of Swedish Reforms

Per Molander
Journal of Public Policy
Vol. 21, No. 1 (Jan. - Apr., 2001), pp. 23-52
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4007698
Page Count: 30
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Budgeting Procedures and Democratic Ideals: An Evaluation of Swedish Reforms
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Abstract

The choice of rules for the central government budget process represents a trade-off between potentially conflicting goals. Budgetary reforms triggered by serious imbalances in public finances over the last two decades indicate that a political reorientation has taken place, giving more emphasis to macroeconomic impacts, long-term budgetary restrictions, and transparency in budget decision making. The paper analyses a number of generic problems of collective decision-making in the fiscal policy area and their relation to fundamental values upon which democratic states are built. The discussion is illustrated by experiences from a major budget process reform in Sweden between 1992 and 1997. The conclusion is that tighter fiscal discipline can be achieved without encroaching upon democratic values; it is argued that democracy can in fact be strengthened by such a shift of regime.

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