Where There Is a Way, There Is No Will! The Dichotomy between State Capacity and Quality of Public Spending in Brazil and Spain

Marco Aurelio Marques Ferreira, Carmen Pineda Nebot, Daiane Medeiros Roque Ferreira


The analytical basis of this work relies on the disclosure of the relationship patterns between budgetary capacity and human development, providing the argument that sometimes “where there is a way, there is no will”. The argument provided is that the budgetary capacity can be either spoiled by the quality of public administration, by lack commitment or even by money displacement. Thus, we mean that sometimes the public managers, especially the mayors, may fail to convert a satisfactory budget conditions in public product and services aligned to contribute to human development. The purpose of this study is to investigate these dimensions regarding local governments of Brazil and Spain, considering the advantages of the differences and similarities between these countries on many issues. Among the main findings a curious fact has been observed, many municipalities with a great budgetary capacity show low quality of services and products provided to the citizens.  The results highlighted several factors, which affect the relationship between municipal budget and human development. These factors could be considered by policymakers to build more equitable resource redistribution policies and to improve the quality of public spending in local government.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jpag.v8i4.13224

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