PP4J5      Half Unit
Fiscal Governance and Budgeting

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Joachim Wehner


This course is available on the MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Columbia), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Hertie), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and NUS), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Sciences Po), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Tokyo), MSc in Political Science and Political Economy, MSc in Public Policy and Administration, Master of Public Administration and Master of Public Policy. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course examines contemporary issues in fiscal governance and public budgeting in OECD countries and elsewhere.  The focus is on executive and legislative actors and the institutional structures within which they make budgetary choices.  Following an introduction to theoretical approaches to the study of budgeting, topics include medium-term frameworks, top-down budgeting, fiscal rules and fiscal councils, performance budgeting, legislative budgeting, fiscal decentralisation, budget transparency, audit and accountability.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 20 hours in the MT. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of online and on-campus lectures and classes. This course includes a reading week in week 6 of MT.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to produce one formative essay in Michaelmas Term as practice for the take-home assessment.

Indicative reading


Alesina, A, C Favero and F Giavazzi (2019). Austerity: When It Works and When It Does Not (Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press).

Blyth, M (2013). Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea (Oxford, Oxford University Press).

Hallerberg, M, R Strauch, and J von Hagen, (2009). Fiscal Governance in Europe (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press)

Allen, R, R Hemming, and B Potter, eds (2013). The International Handbook of Public Financial Management (New York, NY, Palgrave Macmillan)

Cangiano, M, T Curristine, and M Lazare, eds (2013). Public Financial Management and Its Emerging Architecture (Washington DC, International Monetary Fund).


Coursework (25%) in the MT.
Take-home assessment (75%) in the LT.

The coursework (worth 25%) will consist of a Policy Exercise which will be carried out in groups.  Students will prepare a presentation and produce a 2-3 page policy memo.

The take-home timed assessment (75%) will be held shortly before the start of Lent Term.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: School of Public Policy

Total students 2019/20: 32

Average class size 2019/20: 33

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills