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Supreme Audit Institutions: Supremely Superfluous? A Cross Country Assessment


  • Lorenz Blume


  • Stefan Voigt



This is the first study that assesses the economic effects of supreme audit institutions (SAIs) on a cross country basis. Drawing on two distinct sources (a survey carried out by the International Organization of the SAIs in the early 90ies and an OECD/World Bank Survey of Budget Practices and Procedures carried out in 2003), the effects of SAIs on three groups of economic variables are estimated, namely on (1) fiscal policy, on (2) government effectiveness, and on (3) productivity. On the basis of up to 40 countries, differences in the independence, the mandate, the implementation record, and the organizational model of the SAIs do not seem to have any clear-cut effect on any of the three groups of dependent variables. There is only one exception: perceived levels of corruption (an aspect of government effectiveness) are significantly higher if the SAI is structured along the court model of auditing. Although in isolation the number of observations appears to be quite low, we argue that the results are unlikely to significantly change if the number of observations is increased for two reasons: the two surveys cover different sets of countries and the individual significance levels are usually extremely low indicating that the structure of SAIs could, indeed, be completely superfluous for the effectiveness of these organizations. Classification-H1, H3, H5, H8

Suggested Citation

  • Lorenz Blume & Stefan Voigt, 2007. "Supreme Audit Institutions: Supremely Superfluous? A Cross Country Assessment," ICER Working Papers 03-2007, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:icr:wpicer:03-2007

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. AlÌcia Adserý, 2003. "Are You Being Served? Political Accountability and Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 445-490, October.
    2. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "Law and Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1113-1155, December.
    3. Treisman, Daniel, 2000. "The causes of corruption: a cross-national study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 399-457, June.
    4. Beck, Thorsten & Clarke, George & Groff, Alberto & Keefer, Philip & Walsh, Patrick, 2000. "New tools and new tests in comparative political economy - the database of political institutions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2283, The World Bank.
    5. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753, March.
    6. Feld, Lars P. & Voigt, Stefan, 2003. "Economic growth and judicial independence: cross-country evidence using a new set of indicators," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 497-527, September.
    7. Mark Schelker & Reiner Eichenberger, 2003. "Starke Rechnungsprüfungskommissionen: Wichtiger als direkte Demokratie und Föderalismus? Ein erster Blick auf die Daten," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 139(III), pages 351-373, September.
    8. Reiner Eichenberger & Mark Schelker, 2007. "Independent and competing agencies: An effective way to control government," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 79-98, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Markevich, Andrei, 2007. "How Much Control is Enough? Monitoring and Enforcement under Stalin," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 829, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    2. Danielle Morin, 2008. "Auditors general's universe revisited: An exploratory study of the influence they exert on public administration through their value for money audits," Managerial Auditing Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 23(7), pages 697-720, July.

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