This paper reviews the extent of evidence for the effect of Public Financial Management (PFM) interventions on outcomes in low and middle income countries. It is based on a database of 197 studies compiled after a rigorous search process. The number of studies in the field was surprisingly low, reflecting a series of challenges in acquiring robust evidence. Studies tended to emphasise the budgeting stage of the financial management cycle, with relatively few studies about the implementation stage. Evidence on outcomes was patchy. Most studies considered multiple interventions, reflecting the need for holistic approaches to PFM systems, but this frustrated attempts to attribute results to particular interventions. The most common outcomes noted were improved transparency and improved accountability. Evidence maps summarise the findings, showing the extent of evidence across combinations of intervention and outcome. These suggest that we have scant evidence for most combinations, with the exception of work in participatory budgeting and related fields.
This report is accompanied by an Excel spreadsheet containing the bibliographic information for the papers included in the study and the tables and charts that are reproduced in this report. The spreadsheet is available from the GSDRC website or on request from email@example.com.
De Lay, S.; Mills, L.; Jadeja, K.; Lucas, B. Public Financial Management Evidence Mapping. Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2015) 26 pp.