The essence of government budgeting is how the political executive decides who gets how muchto do what– the process by which limited funds are allocated to turn policy ideas into implementation action. But the political executive does not budget in isolation; budgetary process outcomes are also affected by central budget agency dynamics, Parliament’s role in granting spending approval and how the government is held to account for its spending.

The objective of this course is to shed some light on these inter-related processes and the budgetary politics that shape the way key players behave. The course material will focus primarily on the federal government (and thus on budgeting in a Westminster-based parliamentary system), but provincial budgetary processes are very similar and the case study is based on a provincial government. Although the course will touch on revenue generation, it is neither a tax policy nor an economic policy course. Neither does it require quantitative skills beyond basic arithmetic.

Classes will be a mixture of instructor presentations, in-class exercises and student led discussions. One or two guest-speakers are proposed but that will be confirmed before classes start. Grades will be based on a case study to be completed in groups and some form of individual student assignment related to an in-class activity (e.g. a presentation/discussion).  The exact nature of these will be determined once the number of students enrolled is known.