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Research Project on Public Financial Management Reforms

Research Project on Public Financial Management Reforms

Dr. Sonia Gatchair
Faculty of Social Sciences
Finance and Logistics

Jamaica’s poor fiscal position linked in part to weaknesses in public financial management (PFM) practices and its borrowing relationships with international lenders, accelerated the depth and pace of reforms to improve fiscal responsibility in keeping with international best practices. According to the World Bank, effective institutions and systems of PFM have the potential to increase effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of goods and services, growth, and poverty reduction, hence the imperative to get the reforms right. The research project examined the implications of political and socio-economic context, ideology, interests, capacity, leadership, and deliberative, collaborative governance on the potential for success or failure. The research is based on a series of qualitative case studies, with data collected using interviews, document analyses, and participant observation.

Both incremental and sweeping reforms to institutional arrangements suggest a paradigm shift with a seeming disconnect to wider public sector reforms and complex rearrangements in the patterns of relationships among political, administrative, and civil society groups, which have implications for decentralization and autonomy. Ideology and interests contribute to expressions of competing and conflicting institutional logics, resulting in the unsuccessful implementation of innovative organizational changes.

Both leadership and capacity go beyond technical skills to include ‘political’ skills, which are needed to communicate, negotiate and bargain to achieve compromise and new group identities among multiple interests. This is critical in participatory democracies, which demand responsiveness to powerful or influential interests, reduce autonomy and give rise to unclear organizational boundaries and hierarchies.

Greater strategic use of partnerships and an intentional step-wise approach, with an expanding locus of deliberations, which deconstruct highly technical information have the potential to deepen the process and reduce resistance to change.

Gatchair, S. (2018). "Leadership and public financial management reforms in Jamaica",International Journal of Public Leadership,14(4)pp.297-308,

Gatchair, S. (2017). “Administrative Reforms to Improve Fiscal Responsibility in Jamaica, chapter in Snapshots in Governance: The Caribbean Experience edited by A. Bissessor and S. Ryan

Gatchair, S. (2016).“Collaborative Governance and the Implementation of Fiscal Responsibility Frameworks” Chapter 21 in Handbook of Research on Sub-National Governance and Developmentedited by E. Scoburgh and R. Ryan, Hershey Pa.: IGI Global.

Gatchair, S. (2015).“Ideology and Interests in Tax Administration Reform in Jamaica” Politics and Policy43 (6) 897 -913 Article first published online: 10 December 2015

Gatchair, S. and Schoburgh, E. (2013).What does it take to get it right? A critical study of organizationalcapacities and Jamaica’s fiscal responsibility framework Presented to IRSPM Conference, April10-12, Prague

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