Do Legislatures Matter in Budgetary Reform?


  • Carolyn Bourdeaux, Assistant Professor, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, 14 Marietta Street, Suite 353, Atlanta, GA 30303. She can be reached at


A recurring problem in the implementation of budgetary reforms at the state level is whether and how to engage legislatures in the effort. This paper posits that legislatures are critical for effective implementation and that different legislative institutional arrangements may have differential effects on both legislative and agency implementation. Drawing on a multistate survey, the analysis shows that higher levels of legislative responsibility for budgeting as well as legislative engagement in oversight of performance information are significantly associated with increased use of performance measures in making budgetary decisions both at the legislative and agency levels.