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Planning and Budgeting in Poor Countries by…

Planning and Budgeting in Poor Countries

by Naomi Caiden

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This is a very interesting book on problems of government in poor countries. The authors show how the uncertainties of limited economic means are reflected onto a shifting, unreliable national budget, and how this unfortunate state of affairs hinders economic development. Budgeting isn't easy in rich countries either, but their economic reserves allows them to maintain credibility even in the face of change. In poor countries the whole budget edifice can come crashing down in uncertain times. This leads to very short-term budgeting and a game of cat and mouse between givers and receivers, which the author portray very well.

The first half of the book deals with budgeting, the second with economic planning. I thought the former was a lot more interesting than the latter. The book is based on a series of comprehensive interviews conducted in the 1970s with government officials in various poor countries. Times have changed a lot since then and I can't say for certain whether the conclusions are still valid. I would imagine that the general problems associated with budgeting limited resources in uncertain circumstances are still the same today. I therefore recommend this book to readers interested in development and in government in general. It provides a very useful contrast to books on the political economy of rich countries, where an ample budget is taken for granted.
  thcson | Jan 22, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0878557075, Paperback)

This substantial treatment of budgeting in poor countries and discussion of the relationship between planning and budgeting covers over eighty nations and three-fourths of the worlds population. While there are many treatments of planning, the approach of this study is radically different. The authors argue that the requisites of comprehensive economic planning do not exist in poor countries, and that in the effort to create them, planners merge into the environment they have set out to change. Caiden and Wildavsky provide a unique and thorough examination of planning and budgeting by governments of poor countries throughout the world, and recommend reforms that are workable and realistic for these countries. They analyze the political, economic, and social developments that influence budgeting and planning in developing countries.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:47 -0400)

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