2015 Economic Development, Public Administration Analysis

Has Sweden injected realism into public financial management reforms in partner countries?

Matt Andrews

Many donors are working on Public Financial Management (PFM) reforms in developing countries, but these reforms are commonly limited. Observers suggest that the impact can be improved if reforms are designed and implemented in a more realistic manner — allowing solutions to be shaped by the practicalities of reform contexts.

This report asks whether Swedish development agencies have leveraged this experiential advantage to foster a more realistic approach to development, and PFM reforms in particular. It traces Swedish engagements in the global PFM discourse and through PFM work in Mozambique and Cambodia.

The report was presented during the seminar How can Sweden contribute to institutional reform in partner countries?

Main findings

  • Sweden’s development agencies have been attempting to facilitate this ‘exchange of experience’ in the PFM field, and influence the realism of reforms.
  • The extent of this sharing might not be as large as one might expect (at least not in the past decade and a half).
  • The efforts to bring Sweden’s own reform experience into the global narrative on PFM reform has been quite limited.

Report author
Matt Andrews, Associate professor, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University