Political Economy Determinants of Public Spending Allocations: A Review of Theories, and Implications for Agricultural Public Investment

  • Tewodaj Mogues
Original Article


Agricultural public investments in developing countries can have substantial effects on performance in the sector and beyond. In the examination of actual resource allocation decisions by governments and donors, it is striking that strong evidence of the high economic contributions of particular types of public investments seems to coexist with a relative neglect of these public goods provisions in budget portfolios, and vice versa. This article sets out to understand this incongruence, by examining the political economy drivers of public expenditure allocation and composition. It reviews theories and empirical investigations on how (i) the incentives and constraints of key actors – including politicians, bureaucrats, interest groups and donors, (ii) the characteristics of publicly provided goods and services and (iii) country-wide political governance environments affect the prioritisation of public investments.


political economy agricultural public investment public expenditure agricultural development governance 


Dans les pays en développement, les dépenses publiques dans le secteur de l’agriculture ont des effets substantiels sur la performance du secteur, et au-delà du secteur même. En examinant les décisions d’allocation des ressources par les gouvernements et les donneurs, on découvre que des investissements publics qui apportent évidemment des fortes contributions économiques coexistent avec un état d’abandon relatif de ces mêmes provisions de biens publiques dans les portefeuilles budgétaires, et vice versa. Le but de cette étude c’est de comprendre cette incongruence, en examinant les effets des leviers de politique économique dans la composition et allocation des dépenses publiques. On examine théories et études empiriques sur comment la priorisation des investissements publiques est affecté par: (i) les motivations et les contraintes des acteurs principaux – y inclus les politiciens, les bureaucrates, les groups d’intérêt, et les donneurs; (II) Les caractéristiques des biens et services de provision publique; (iii) la gouvernance politique au niveau du pays.


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Copyright information

© European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tewodaj Mogues
    • 1
  1. 1.International Food Policy Research InstituteWashington DCUSA

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