Politics of fiscal discipline: counter-conducting the World Bank’s public financial management reforms

De-Clerk Azure, J., Alawattage, C. and George Lauwo, S. (2023) Politics of fiscal discipline: counter-conducting the World Bank’s public financial management reforms. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, (doi: 10.1108/AAAJ-04-2022-5761) (Early Online Publication)

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Purpose: The World Bank-sponsored public financial management reforms attempt to instil fiscal discipline through techno-managerial packages. Taking Ghana's integrated financial management information system (IFMIS) as a case, this paper explores how and why local actors engaged in counter-conduct against these reforms. Design/methodology/approach: Interviews, observations and documentary analyses on the operationalisation of IFMIS constitute this paper's empirical basis. Theoretically, the paper draws on Foucauldian notions of governmentality and counter-conduct. Findings: Empirics demonstrate how and why politicians and bureaucrats enacted ways of escaping, evading and subverting IFMIS's disciplinary regime. Politicians found the new accounting regime too constraining to their electoral and patronage politics and, therefore, enacted counter-conduct around the notion of political exigencies, creating expansionary fiscal conditions which the World Bank tried to mitigate through IFMIS. Perceiving the new regime as subverting their bureaucratic identity and influence, bureaucrats counter-conducted reforms through questioning, critiquing and rhetorical venting. Notably, the patronage politics of appropriating wealth and power underpins both these political and bureaucratic counter-conducts. Originality/value: This study contributes to the critical accounting understanding of global public financial management reform failures by offering new empirical and theoretical insights as to how and why politicians and bureaucrats who are supposed to own and implement them nullify the global governmentality intentions of fiscal disciplining through subdued forms of resistance.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Azure, Dr John and Alawattage, Professor Chandana
Authors: De-Clerk Azure, J., Alawattage, C., and George Lauwo, S.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School
College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Accounting and Finance
Journal Name:Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Published Online:30 October 2023
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 Emerald Publishing Limited
First Published:First published in Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal 2023
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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