Pull, not push, to open up spending

In the run-up to every budget season, public debate on social sector schemes inevitably turns to the question of the paltry sums allocated. True to script, the question of allocations and potential budget cuts is already making headlines. What gets relatively less attention is the issue of how well the government spends even the limited sums of money that it does commit. In recent years, there has been some debate on the question of outcomes—especially in sectors like health and education. Indeed, this annual budget series is an effort to engage with precisely this question.