PP4J5      Half Unit
Fiscal Governance and Budgeting

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Joachim Wehner


This course is available on the Double Master of Public Administration (LSE-Columbia), Double Master of Public Administration (LSE-Sciences Po), Double Master of Public Administration (LSE-University of Toronto), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Hertie), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and NUS), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Tokyo), MPA in Data Science for Public Policy, MSc in Political Science (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 lectures and seminars totalling a minimum of 30 hours across Autumn Term. This year teaching will be delivered in person where possible and where conditions allow.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to produce one formative essay in Autumn Term as practice for the exam.

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).


Exam (75%, duration: 3 hours) in the spring exam period.
Coursework (25%) in the AT.

The coursework (worth 25%) will consist of a Policy Exercise where students will prepare and deliver a presentation which will be carried out in groups. 

The e-exam (75%) will be held in the ST.

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 17
Merit 58
Pass 23
Fail 2

Key facts

Department: School of Public Policy

Total students 2022/23: 33

Average class size 2022/23: 34

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

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