In her paper “Are improvements in fiscal transparency in Egypt endogenous to fiscal outcomes?“, Lobna Abdel Latif (Cairo University) investigates the parliamentarians’ ability to hold the government accountable for its fiscal behaviour through the fiscal disclosure data they receive from government, over the period 2000-2010 in Egypt. According to Lobna, parliamentarians are only interested in data that hold the government accountable for what serves their own interests and constituencies. Through in-depth analysis of the MPs’ interventions in the floor discussion of fiscal affairs for two successive parliamentary terms over ten years (2000-2010), the study shows that the data disclosed were not the type demanded by parliamentarians; while MPs preferred data on targeted public goods, they received data about pure public goods on deficit and its attributes. In addition, data were not utilized to hold government accountable to its fiscal actions. Lobna hypothesizes that MPs did not request the government to share the right information that affects distributive decisions in parliament; her findings show that they even went into reducing the number of interventions on deficit and its attributes after they got data on those. Therefore, together with her research tem, Lobna calls for a reform of such “transparency-crippling structures”.
Interested in getting an explanation of the Egyptian disclosure puzzle? Read Lobna’s post “Opacity in the attire of transparency!!!: The story of fiscal disclosure in Egypt”
Watch our interview with Lobna