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Balancing Control and Flexibility in Public Budgeting

20 July 2016




This work explores how reshaping budget rules and how they are applied presents a preferred means of public sector budgeting, rather than simply implementing fewer rules. Through enhanced approaches to resource flexibility, government entities can ensure that public money is used appropriately while achieving the desired results. The authors identify public budgeting practices that inhibit responses to complex problems and examine how rule modification can lead to expanded budget flexibility. Through a nuanced understanding of the factors underlying conventional budget control, the authors use budget reforms in Australia to show the limits of rule modification and propose “rule variability” as a better means of recalibrating central control and situational flexibility. Here, policy makers and public management academics will find a source that surveys emerging ways of reconciling control and flexibility in the public sector.

An output from the ANZSOG-funded project Flexible governmental budgeting.

Suggested citation

Di Francesco, M., & Alford, J. (2016). Balancing Control and Flexibility in Public Budgeting: A New Role for Rule Variability. Palgrave Macmillan.


Authors: Michael Di Francesco and John Alford
Published Date: 20 July 2016