Other Public Sector Study

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  • Publication
    South East Europe Municipal Finance Review : Local Government Finance in the Western Balkans
    (Washington, DC, 2013-09) World Bank
    This report addresses the limited access to local governments of data and knowledge of municipal finance issues in South East Europe (SEE). The objective of the analytical work under the SEE Municipal Finance Review (MFR) aims to (i) contribute to improved understanding of local government management and finance in the SEE Region; and (ii) contribute to improving the quality and consistency of key municipal finance data for improved evidence based policy making. The analysis presented in this report comprises the first attempt to review and analyze a regional set of disaggregated sub-national finance data in the SEE Region. Main findings of the MFR are presented in this report. Following an introductory chapter, chapter 2 provides an overview of the decentralization framework in the SEE Region, including on the administrative and political structure of sub-national governments, their population size and distribution, and the service functions assigned to local governments. Chapter 3 explains in more detail the local government finance framework. This includes an overview of the structure and composition of sub-national finances, in particular (i) revenue and expenditure assignments; (ii) transfers and intergovernmental fiscal relations; and (iii) the evolving framework and realities of sub-national borrowing and debt. Chapter 4 provides a summary of the key trends and findings from the cross-country, regional analysis, complemented by detailed analysis of the disaggregated datasets, where available. Finally, Chapter 5 summarizes conclusions and provides some recommendations for a possible way forward. In the medium to long term, access to municipal finance information would contribute to increasing transparency and accountability of local governments, improving revenue collection and expenditure performance, optimizing budget allocation procedures, and strengthen local authorities' role and position in intergovernmental fiscal considerations and negotiations in the SEE countries.
  • Publication
    Public Sector-operated Price-comparison Websites : Case Studies and Good Practices
    (Washington, DC, 2013-06) World Bank
    This technical note is intended to provide regulators with concrete, practical information on operating price-comparison websites and the strategic considerations necessary to take into account when designing such sites. The technical note examines price-comparison websites operated by public sector entities in Canada, Hungary, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, and the United Kingdom. The technical note describes the price-comparison tools in these case study countries, comparing differing approaches and highlighting good practices found across countries. Institutional and structural arrangements were found to vary across case study countries. Price-comparison websites are operated by either a financial regulator (Hungary, Malaysia) or more commonly by a financial consumer agency set up by the government but operating as an independent agency (Canada, Ireland, Mexico, Norway, United Kingdom). Typically, less sophisticated price-comparison websites provide basic price-comparison tools, while more sophisticated sites provide interactive product-selection tools and complementary educational materials in an intuitive, easy-to-use format.