Different Faces of Fiscal Bureaucracy

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Ringa Raudla Lars Mjøset Rainer Kattel Aleksandrs Cepilovs Olga Mikheeva Bent Sofus Tranøy

Abstract

In light of the growing importance of finance ministries and the financial dimension in policy-making, opening up the “black box” of fiscal bureaucracies is more warranted than ever. Our paper addresses the following research question: What kinds of roles can be assumed by fiscal bureaucrats in fiscal policy-making and budgeting? We propose four dichotomies that can be employed for examining the roles played by fiscal bureaucracies: 1) developers vs guardians; 2) initiators vs followers; 3) mediators vs insulators; 4) modellers vs estimators. In developing these dimensions, we juxtaposed the insights from various streams of institutionalist research and also on literature on public budgeting and public policy with the themes that emerged from the interviews we conducted in four different countries: Estonia, Latvia, Sweden and Norway. We find that fiscal bureaucracies in Estonia and Latvia tend to be closer to the guardian-insulator-estimator ends of the continuums, whereas the officials in Sweden and especially Norway lean towards the developer-mediator-modeller end of the scale. The division between the initiator vs follower roles is less clear-cut.

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Author Biographies

Ringa Raudla, Tallinn University of Technology

Ringa Raudla is Professor of Public Finance and Governance at Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia. Her research interests include fiscal governance, public budgeting, institutional economics,and public management reforms. Her recent articles have been published in the leading journals like Public Administration Review, Governance, Journal of Public Policy, Public Administration, Public Choice, American Review of Public Administration, Policy Studies Journal, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, Urban Affairs Review, Administration & Society, and Europe-Asia Studies. Ringa Raudla received the Estonian national research award in social sciences in 2018. She is also a founding member of the Young Academy of Sciences in Estonia. She is an editorial board member of six different journals in the fields of public administration, public management, governance and economics. Email: ringa.raudla@taltech.ee

Lars Mjøset, University of Oslo

Lars Mjøset is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Oslo Summer School for Comparative Social Science Studies at the Social Science Faculty, University of Oslo, Norway. He does comparative research in political economy and historical sociology, and also publishes on topics in the philosophy and history of social science. Email: lars.mjoset@sosgeo.uio.no

Rainer Kattel, University College London

Rainer Kattel is professor of innovation and public governance at the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, University College London, and research professorat Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance, Tallinn University ofTechnology, Estonia. He has studied at the University of Tartu, Estonia, and University of Marburg, Germany, in philosophy, political philosophy, classics and public administration. He has published extensively on innovation policy, its governance and specific management issues. Email: r.kattel@ucl.ac.uk

Aleksandrs Cepilovs, Tallinn University of Technology

Aleksandrs Cepilovs is project manager at the Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia. He has studied economics and technology governance and has received his PhD from the Ragnar Nurkse Department. His research interests are in innovation policy, public sector innovation and policy transfer, with a specific focus on Central and Eastern Europe. Email: aleksandrs.cepilovs@taltech.ee

Olga Mikheeva, Tallinn University of Technology

Olga Mikheeva is a PhD candidate at Tallinn University of Technology and her research is focused on financing of innovation, development banks and financial bureaucracy. Currently she is working on development finance institutions in Central and Eastern Europe while her articles were published by the Journal of Post-Keynesian Economics and Journal of Baltic Studies. Email: olga.mikheeva@taltech.ee

Bent Sofus Tranøy, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences

Bent Sofus Tranøy is a professor of political economy in the Department of Organization, Leadership and Management at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences. He has published on topics such as comparative political economy, financialstability and organizational theory. Email: bent.tranoy@hihm.no