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Upcoming Sessions

Session Title
Public Finance in a Complex World (Online)

Session Dates:
Application Deadline
Faculty Chair

Program Director: Laura Bussa
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Program Fee
Session Description

Executive Certificate: This program is part of the Economic Development and Public Policy Executive Certificate series.
Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs): This program aligns with one or more Executive Core Qualifications.

Every country around the world has embraced public financial management reforms over the last two decades. Many have not met expectations.

Public Finance in a Complex World is an executive program providing a rigorous, evidence-based approach to public financial management. The upcoming online session will bring together officials in charge of implementing reforms in their countries along with leading experts from multilateral organizations to examine the challenges associated with successful systemic reform.

Going Beyond the Numbers

This five-day executive program being offered online goes far beyond traditional public finance management approaches that have yielded decidedly mixed results. Harvard faculty and expert practitioners will lead you through live virtual lessons that examine what constitutes effective reform. They will also focus on political and organizational change, with an emphasis on national traditions, capacities and needs.

This upcoming online session of Public Finance in a Complex World will tackle challenges governments are currently facing with public finance, including:

  • New Ways to Think About and Do Public Finance: The demands on government are changing across the world and many public finance experts find the old theories about how to spend and tax are not applicable to current circumstances. How do we think about public finance given the new challenges we all face? Matt Andrews, Harvard University, and Philipp Krause, from Africa’s Collaborative African Budget Reform Initiative, will provide frameworks for thinking about public finance in the 21st Century.
  • COVID-19 Impacts on Public Finance: COVID-19 upset tax and spending plans and practices and many of the challenges are not over. How should public finance specialists think about the next few years? Louise Sheiner, from the Brookings Institution, will discuss the public finance challenges associated with COVID-19 and Marco Cangiano, formerly of the IMF, will address questions about fiscal discipline  and debt challenges in the wake of COVID-19
  • Public Finance Effects on Other Key Issues: Governments face many sectoral challenges in this new century, including how can public finance can affect education policies, address climate change and reduce inequality? Lant Pritchett, from Oxford University, will address questions about public finance and education—especially  reflecting on how we can support ‘learning not just schooling’;  Elizabeth Gilmore, from Clark University, will share her work on the public finance implications of climate change; Paolo de Renzio, from  the International Budget Project, will discuss how governments can spend and tax to address inequality; and Wangari Muikia, of Expertise Global Consulting in Kenya, will reflect  on the importance of empowering local communities through the public finance process.

The interactive online curriculum will be conducted through a mix of live faculty-led sessions and asynchronous work, including:

  • 1-hour Onboarding Session:  Wed, Jan 19th at 11:00 am EST OR 4:00 pm EST
  • 3 live Faculty-led sessions per day: 7:45am – 12:30pm EST 
  • 2 live Peer Learning session on Tuesday and Thursday: 1:00 – 2:00 pm EST
  • Pre-program readings (estimated 5-10 hours of pre-work)

Hear from Professor Matt Andrews

Learn more about the program from Faculty Chair Matt Andrews, Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.

Public Finance in a Complex World will provide you with:

  • An empirical understanding of the elements of reform agendas that typically succeed versus those that do not, and an analytical framework for interpreting how and why this differs by country
  • Evidence-based insights about the connection between the quality and the outputs of systems in functional areas such as budgeting, accounting, auditing and procurement
  • Approaches for strategic engagement of stakeholders in reforms and change management
  • A lasting global network of colleagues who share a common understanding of the challenges of reforming public financial management systems