Budgeting in a time of austerity: the case of the Estonian central government

Kadri Jõgiste, Peeter Peda, Giuseppe Grossi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    Resulting from the global economic crisis, high budget deficits and debt burden characterise many economies looking for an exit strategy from current fiscal unbalances. The government of Estonia, having pursued a conservative fiscal policy for over a decade, reacted to the economic recession with radical budget adjustments, the latter constituting approximately 9% of gross domestic product in 2009. Consequently, Estonia took its chance and qualified for the euro in 2011. This study examines the behaviour of the Estonian central government and the basis of its budget decisions when planning drastic cost reductions through the theoretical lens of cutback management. The foremost results reveal that the crisis pushed the government to establish a different institutional framework that facilitated fast and effective decision-making during the budget process. The savings proposals came from the Ministry of Finance; however, running a cash-basis line-item budgeting system in practice, the centre possessed only limited performance data for developing the proposals. Consequently, the long-term impacts of the budget adjustments had not been assessed and are as yet unknown. A further conclusion is that the current budgeting framework should be revised and replaced step by step with a more advanced approach.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)181-195
    Number of pages14
    JournalPublic Administration and Development
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Swedish Standard Keywords

    • Business Administration (50202)


    • Estonia
    • Maastricht criteria
    • budgeting
    • central government
    • crisis
    • financial sustainability


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