The last few decades a revival of the performance budgeting generating a complete performance industry. Initiated by the Anglo-Saxon countries, notably New Zealand, the performance movement is widespread today. In this paper we focus on the efforts of the three European countries - Finland, the Netherlands and Spain - to link inputs to outputs and/or the results by looking at three questions: " What is the rationale for budgetary reform? " What is the orientation of budgetary reform: outputs or results? " Is budgetary reform successful? Fiscal stress is a key driver in all cases, but not the only reason for budgetary reform. Other factors such as the Maastricht criteria for qualification and participation in the EMU have served as a trigger for budgetary reform. The approach differs from country to country, but they are all focused on the performance informed budgeting. Besides, the latest developments point in the direction of a more down to earth attitude to the expectations of budgetary reform. The success of budgetary reform hinges on the quality of performance information that is assumed a necessary but not sufficient condition for the use of performance information. All complain about the quality of performance information. Moreover, they all struggle with the link of the inputs to the outputs or results that makes us conclude, addressing the question that we raised in the subtitle of our paper, that the ends do not justify - neither moral nor empirical - the means as well as resources.

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European University
EUI working paper. European University Institute, Florence, Robert Schuman Centre. RSC /
Department of Public Administration

van Nispen tot Pannerden, F., & Posseth, J. (2009). Performance Informed Budgeting in Europe: The Ends Justify the Means, Don’t They?. EUI working paper. European University Institute, Florence, Robert Schuman Centre. RSC / (Vol. 39, pp. 1–35). Retrieved from