Follow the Money - From Surpluses to School Buses: Understanding Public Finance


Annual BRASS program
June 26, 2006
New Orleans, Louisiana

Public Finance Information Sources:
A Bibliography

Compiled by BRASS 2006 Annual Program Planning Committee

Download the bibliography as a Word document

Pt. 2: Federal and International Sources, Indexes and Periodicals

Federal Public Finance Sources | International Public Finance Sources | Indexes and Periodicals : Indexes : Periodicals


The following resources are a selection of print and Internet resources, primarily from the Federal government, including the Executive Office of the President, Senate and Congress. Additionally, resources containing an overview of the Federal budgetary process are included, among which are introductory guides and Columbia University's extensive guide to the budget process which contains links to relevant web sites.

Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors. Economic Report of the President Transmitted to the Congress. Washington: U.S. Executive Office of the President, Council of Economic Advisers, 1947- present. Annual. (

This publication is a thorough guide to the budget process that features links to key budget documents, including Budget of the United States Government, "Introduction to the Federal Budget Process" by the Congressional Quarterly, links to websites and print materials, and a Federal budget calendar. Appendix B contains historical tables (from 1959 or earlier) on aspects of income (national, personal, and corporate), production, prices, employment, investment, taxes and transfers, and money and finance.

Columbia University Libraries. U.S. Government Documents: The Budget Process. New York: Columbia University Libraries. (

This publication is a thorough guide to the budget process that features links to key budget documents, including Budget of the United States Government, "Introduction to the Federal Budget Process" by the Congressional Quarterly, links to websites and print materials, and a Federal budget calendar.

Farrier, Jasmine. Passing the Buck: Congress, the Budget, and Deficits. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2004.

Passing the Buck examines how Congress is increasing its delegation of a wide variety of powers to the president in recent years. Farrier assesses why institutional ambition in the early 1970s turned into institutional ambivalence about whether Congress is equipped to handle its constitutional duties.

Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board. Home Page. (

The mission of the FASAB is "to promulgate federal accounting standards after considering the financial and budgetary information needs of citizens, congressional oversight groups, executive agencies, and the needs of other users of federal financial information." This site contains full text of the Original Pronouncements and Exposure drafts, and news releases.

Gosling, James J. Budgetary Politics in American Governments, 4th ed. Routledge, 2006.

This publication examines budgetary politics at all levels of government.

Hall, Thad E. Authorizing Policy. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2004.

This book examines short-term authorizations effects on policy and reconsideration of policies when these authorizations are due to expire, including the authorization of appropriations by Congress. The book argues that management of public programs is affected through the development of a systematic schedule, and discusses the change in the resources and tools available to policy implementers in charge of these programs.

Ippolito, Dennis S. Why Budgets Matter: Budget Policy and American Politics. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003.

This book discusses the conflicts over budget policy from the nation's founding until today, and provides insight into the debate over "limited government" vs. "big government."

LeLoup, Lance T. Parties, Rules, and the Evolution of Congressional Budgeting. Pullman, WA: Washington State University, 2005.

This book traces how Congressional macro-budgeting fundamentally has changed the way in which Congress frames and enacts budget choices. It provides a historical context on the evolution of the congressional budget process over the past three decades. Important budget issues included in the analysis are the 1974 Budget Act, the Reagan tax cuts in 1981, Gramm-Rudman-Hollings mandatory deficit reduction plan of 1985, the Bush and Clinton deficit reduction packages in 1990 and 1993, the balanced budget agreement in 1997, and the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003.

Mergent Municipal and Government Manual and News Reports. Annual. New York: Mergent, Inc., 1955- present. Also part of Mergent Online, (

See description under Local Public Finance Sources – Operational Sources: General (above).

Oberlander, Jonathan. The Political Life of Medicare. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Mr. Oberlander presents the bipartisan political issues related to Medicare, and traces the historic debate on the politics and policies that has raged regarding Medicare since its enactment in 1965. He also analyzes the political and public policy, health care, and aging issues of Medicare.

Rabin, Jack, and Glenn Stevens. Handbook of Fiscal Policy. New York: Marcel Dekker, 2001.

This companion volume to The Handbook of Monetary Policy contains 40 articles which consider the development of government spending and revenue policymaking, taxes and tax policies, government budgeting and accounting, and government debt management. The last section covers the role of government in formulating economic policies for growth and full employment and reviews issues associated with the implementation of fiscal policies.

_____. Handbook of Monetary Policy. New York: Marcel Dekker Incorporated, 2002.

In this companion volume to The Handbook of Fiscal Policy, scholars and practitioners of monetary policy explain the basics and some of the practices by which the government establishes institutions, laws, and regulation to control the economic system.

Rivlin, Alice M., and Isabel V. Sawhill. Restoring Fiscal Sanity, 2005: Meeting the Long-Run Challenge. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2005.

Ms. Rivlin is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute. Restoring Fiscal Sanity provides an overview of the country's medium- and long-term spending needs and the resources available to pay for them.

Rubin, Irene. The Politics of Public Budgeting: Getting and Spending, Borrowing and Balancing, 5th ed. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2006.

This book analyzes all aspects of the public budgeting decision-making process. Rubin shows the extraordinary coordination involved in passing a budget and achieving some level of accountability. She explores the power shifts and explains the sometimes non-linear decision-making process.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. "Federal, State and Local Governments: Government Finance and Employment Classification Manual." (

This manual provides standardized concepts and definitions, including those related to public employment and payroll statistics. The site also includes an overview of government finance statistics, expenditure, and indebtedness.

U.S. Congressional Budget Office. Home Page. (

This website links to full text the publications like Monthly Budget, Historical Budget Data, and Spreadsheets of Selected Estimates and Projections.

U.S. Department of the Treasury. Home Page. (

This home page is a centralized source for the links to documents about federal government accounting and the budget, including budget documents, strategic plans, performance management, continuous updating of the public debt, etc.

U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. (

This site contains four invaluable resources FRED, ALFRED, FRASIER, and LIBER8, which can be located under the Economic Research section. FRED is a database that contains over 3000 economic time series. ALFRED is a database that contains archived Federal Reserve statistical data back to 1996. FRASIER leads the researcher to links to scanned images of historical economic statistical publications, releases, and documents. Liber8 is a portal that links to economic information from the Federal Reserve System, government agencies, and international data sources. It has been designed with university reference and government documents librarians, college and high school students, and teachers in mind.

U.S. General Accountability Office. Home Page. (

This agency often is known as the "congressional watchdog," because it investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. Its site provides news releases, its strategic plan, reports and testimony, and Principles of Federal Appropriations Law.

U.S. Government Printing Office. "Budget of the United States Government: Main Page." (

Notable links here point to full text of the federal budget, as well as the Economic Report of the President, and the Citizen's Guide to the Federal Budget.

U.S. House of Representatives. Committee on Government Reform: Subcommittee on Government Management, Finance, and Accountability. Home Page. (

This site offers coverage of "issues involving the overall financial, strategic, and risk management of Federal Departments and agencies, as well as matters related to Federal information policy." It contains full text of legislation, news, and hearings.

_____. Committee on Rules. Home Page. (

Features of this site include a description of the Budget Process applicable to the House, and reports of Hearings on the legislative and budget processes in Congress.

_____. Committee on the Budget. The Economic Outlook and Current Fiscal Issues: Hearing before the Committee on the Budget, House of Representatives, One Hundred Ninth Congress, First Session, Hearing Held in Washington, D.C., March 2, 2005. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2005. (

For this Hearing before the Committee on the Budget, Alan Greenspan was the only witness on this date, and he discussed the economic outlook from the Federal Reserve's perspective.

U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Home Page. (

Tax forms and schedules are available for download on this site. It also contains tax news and regulations and statistics re: tax collection.

U.S. Office of the President. Office of Management and Budget. Home Page. (

The OMB's mission is to assist the President in overseeing the preparation of the federal budget, and to supervise its administration in Executive Branch agencies. This website contains: the full text of the President's budget and supporting documents; the OMB Strategic Plan; and full text of testimony and reports to Congress. Links also exist to full text of the Federal budget, the Economic Report of the President, and Citizen's Guide to the Federal Budget.

U.S. Senate. Senate Budget Committee (SBC). Home Page. (

The SBC site provides links to Democratic and Republican websites, and to Hearings and Statements and news releases, etc.

_____. "Virtual Reference Desk: Budget." (

The nuts and bolts of the budget process presented, with links to full text introductory guides, links to sites for Senate and House Budget Committees, and full text of budget resolutions.

University of Michigan. Documents Center. "Federal Government Resources. Federal Budget." (

This Center provides links to the Federal Budgets 1997-2006, Historical Budgets, links to Government Agencies, and news sources.

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The most readily-accessible, high-level resources are covered here – those of the Inter-Governmental Organizations (IGOs), such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the World Bank, that provide public finance data at primarily the country (or "federal") level. Nearly all are available in both print and electronic formats. These publications are the sources most often cited in the country entries in the widely-owned annual print directory Statistics Sources (Farmington Hills, MI: Gale), under such frequently used subheadings as "Budget," "Finance," "National Accounts," "Public Expenditures," or "Taxation." Similarly, the LexisNexis indexing and abstracting service Index to International Statistics (IIS), available electronically as part of LexisNexis Statistical, concentrates on sources produced by IGOs and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) (Dayton, OH: Lexis-Nexis Group).

Arguably the "first-stop" tool among those described below would be the IMF’s Government Finance Statistics Yearbook, which provides public finance data for state and local, as well as national, levels of government (although limited to IMF member countries). To find more detailed country-level data, including local sources, start by consulting foreign countries’ national statistical agencies, as well as their federal or municipal government websites. The following "meta-sites" are recommended:

The resources below are listed in alphabetical order.

European Commission. Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs. "Public Finances in EMU." Brussels: DGEFA, 2000- present. Annual. (

This yearbook includes public finance reports and statistics for the European Union countries.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. "IES (International Economic Statistics) Database." (

Debuting in early 2006, this new (and continually growing) database of sources of worldwide economic indicators is a component of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank's Liber8 economic information portal for librarians and students. The records for each published indicator include the source title, corporate author, publisher, years covered in the data series, publication type (e.g., text, table, chart), publishing frequency, country of origin, a URL, available languages, subject headings, publication format (e.g, .pdf, .xls), a summary (where available), and any needed explanatory notes. The database is searchable by keywords, and both searchable and browsable by publication title, country, corporate author, or subject. Among the subjects covered are "expenditures, public," "finance, public," "government spending policy," "national accounts," and "taxation."

International Monetary Fund (IMF). International Financial Statistics. Washington, D.C.: IMF, 1948- present. Monthly, with Yearbook. (

This resource provides macroeconomic statistics on all aspects of international and domestic finance. For member countries, as well as additional countries and territories, the IMF reports current data needed in the analysis of problems of international payments and of inflation and deflation; i.e., data on exchange rates, international liquidity, money and banking, interest rates, prices, production, international transactions, government accounts, and national accounts. Electronic access is via CD-ROM and Internet (as IFS Online).

_____. Government Finance Statistics Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: IMF, 1977- present. Annual.

This source provides data on revenue income by source (such as taxation) and expenditure by sector (defense, health, education, etc.) for all levels of government (national, state, and local) of IMF member countries. Electronic access is via CD-ROM.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). National Accounts of OECD Countries, Volume IV: General Government Accounts. Paris: OECD, 2004- present. Annual. Electronic access via SourceOECD, (

This publication provides "tables showing government aggregates and balances for the production, income, and financial accounts, as well as detailed tax and social contribution receipts and a breakdown of expenditure of general government by function, according to the harmonised international classification, COFOG. These detailed accounts are available for the general government sector. Data also cover the following sub-sectors, according to availability: central government, state government, local government, and social security funds." Years 1992-2003 are covered, for 29 out of 30 OECD countries. Related publications are: National Accounts of OECD Countries, Volume I, Main Aggregates (1988- ); National Accounts of OECD Countries, Volume II, Detailed Tables (1988- ); and Quarterly National Accounts (1983- ).

_____. OECD Main Economic Indicators. Paris: OECD, 1962- present. Monthly. Electronic access is via SourceOECD, (

This resource publishes a centralized source for economic and financial statistics for all OECD member countries.

_____. "Public Governance and Management." (,2686,en_2649_37405_1_1_1_1_37405,00.html)

This site is subdivided into sections covering "Statistics," "Publications and Documents," and "Information by Country," and is updated continuously.

_____. Revenue Statistics. Paris: OECD, 1996- present. Monthly. Available online via SourceOECD, (

This resource includes taxation and revenue statistics for OECD member countries on the federal level, and is preceded in print by Revenue Statistics of OECD Member Countries (1965-1995).

_____. SourceOECD National Accounts Database. Paris: OECD. (

This resource includes the component databases "Annual National Accounts," "Quarterly National Accounts," "Central Government Debt," and "Historical Statistics." The database covers 1970-2000, and was discontinued in 2001.

United Nations (UN). Statistics Division. National Accounts Statistics: Analysis of Main Aggregates and Detailed Tables. New York: UN, 1982- present. Annual.

This publication contains analytical tables summarizing the principal national accounting aggregates based on official detailed national accounts data for more than 200 countries and areas of the world. Free electronic access exists via National Accounts Main Aggregates Database. (

UNPAN: United Nations Online Network in Public Administration and Finance. New York: UN Division for Public Administration and Development Management, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2005. (

The mission of UNPAN is "to promote the sharing of knowledge, experiences, and best practices throughout the world in sound public policies, effective public administration, and efficient civil services." This site offers a virtual library organized by type of content, theme, language, and region. The "Statistical Databases and World Reports" section (1993 to current) includes extensive coverage of government finance.

UNSTATS. UN Common Database. New York: UN Statistics Division. (

This continuously-updated, subscription database provides more than 450 statistical time series, some dating as far back as 1946, for 278 countries and areas. It encompasses the full range of economic and sociodemographic indicators tracked by UN statistical agencies.

World Bank. Global Development Finance. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 1997- present. Annual. (

This publication covers more than 200 debt and financial flows indicators for the 138 countries that report public and publicly-guaranteed debt to the World Bank Debtor Reporting System. It is a continuation of World Debt Tables. Electronic access is via CD-ROM and the Internet (as GDF Online).

_____. World Development Indicators. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 1978- present. Annual. (

WDI provides data covering more than 500 political and socioeconomic indicators, including data for public spending, for over 200 nations. Electronic access is via CD-ROM and the Internet (as WDI Online).

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This section lists selected indexes and periodicals that treat public finance topics. Items are listed in alphabetical order, and are varied in terms of what they provide, such as academic research articles, finance reports, data and policy discussion. Some easily may be found in nearly all libraries, or free online. Others are more specialized but well-known for public finance research, and are more likely to be found in the larger public and academic libraries, obtained via interlibrary loan, etc.

Most of the items below are subsciption-based, and may be available in more than one format (print, CD, online), and the pricing varies depending on institution. When a resource is free online, it is noted in the description.


ABI/Inform Global. Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest, 1923- present. Updated daily. (

This online database abstracts and provides much full text. It is searchable for articles on public finance in the following journals plus another 4000+:

Amber Waves Journal of Government Financial Management
American City and County Municipal Finance Journal
Fiscal Studies National Tax Journal
Government Finance Review Public Budget and Finance
Infrastructure Finance Public Finance Review
International Tax and Public Finance Public Management
Local Finance Public Policy Research
Journal of Accounting and Public Policy

There are other general databases that index public finance topics. Ebsco’s Academic Search Premier (Birmingham, AL: Ebsco Information Services) and InfoTrac’s Expanded Academic (Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale) come to mind. Although they do not have the same extent of coverage as does ABI/Inform, they are commonly available via public and academic libraries. ISI’s Social Sciences Citation Index (Philadelphia, PA: Thomson Scientific) would be useful for academic research. CQ Researcher (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press) and regional and national news databases from any of the major vendors also would be of interest for current awareness materials on public finance topics.
Index to Current Urban Documents (ICUD). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1972- present. Updated every six-to-eight weeks. (

ICUD is the only regularly published guide to the reports and research that are generated by local government agencies, civic organizations, academic and research organizations, public libraries, and metropolitan and regional planning agencies in approximately 500 selected cities in the United States and Canada.

"Index to Current Urban Documents: Related Links." (

Greenwood created a free page of selected links of interest to the users of ICUD that includes sections such as Organizations and Associations, Listservs and E-mail Lists, and Forums and Bulletin Boards.

Public Affairs Information Service (PAIS). Bethesda, MD: Cambridge Scientific Abstracts, 1915- present. Updated monthly. (

This online database indexes public policy and public affairs literature in many formats (books, periodical articles, government documents, reports, etc.). It covers articles about government, business, law, public administration, banking and finance, health, environment, and education.

Sage Urban Studies Abstracts. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1973- present. Updated quarterly. (

Publishes cross-indexed abstracts of important recent literature (plus related citations) on all aspects of urban studies, including government and administration, policy, transportation, spatial analysis, planning, social analysis, community studies, education, economics, law, management, environment, and comparative urban analysis.


Amber Waves. Washington: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2003- present. Published five times a year. (

This journal provides information on the economics of agriculture, with selected issues free online. The majority of coverage is for the U.S., but some international information is provided for comparison. Topics covered include food, farming, natural resources, and the rural United States.

American City and County. Overland Park, KS: Primedia Business Magazines and Media, 1909- present. Monthly. (

This publication, available as a free subscription, includes state and local government information targeted for people in charge of implementing government policy, programs and projects. Not all content is available online.

City Fiscal Conditions. Washington: National League of Cities, 1985- present. Annual. (

Since 1985, the National League of Cities has collected municipal budget data and research. It prepares annual reports containing this information, some of which are downloadable for free at their website.

Documents to the People. Chicago: American Library Association. Quarterly, 1972- present. Quarterly. (

This publication is free to members of the American Library Association Government Documents Round Table, or can be purchased for $35 annually. Its table of contents can be found free online. The publication features articles about all levels of government information, local, state, federal, and international.

Governing Magazine. Washington: Congressional Quarterly, 1987- present. Monthly. (

This magazine was created for state and local officials, but is read widely by people interested in government. A variety of articles can be found, including monthly columns on economics, transportation, and technology. Qualified applicants can obtain a free print subscription. Some content is available online at no cost.

Government Finance Review. Chicago: Government Finance Officers Association, 1985- present. Bi-monthly. (

This membership magazine includes full-length articles about public finance. Other journals are available from the organization, including GAAFR Review and the Public Investor Newsletter.

Government Information Quarterly. Oxford, UK: Elsevier, 1982- present. Bi-monthly. (

Formerly titled Journal of Government Information, this publication includes topics about the publication of government information at all levels, including local governments. This refereed journal contains editorials, articles, and reviews.

Journal of Urban Planning and Development. Reston, VA: American Society of Civil Engineers, 1956- present. Quarterly. (

This journal provides information on urban planning that is geared towards civil engineers. It is a scholarly, refereed journal containing technical papers, opinion articles, and book reviews.

Municipal Finance Journal. Kingston, NJ: Civic Research Institute, 1980- present. Quarterly. (

This trade publication provides strategies and analysis for state and local financing. Legal trends and tax information for municipalities articles are included.

Nation’s Cities Weekly. Washington: National League of Cities, 1978- present. Weekly. (

This trade magazine provides weekly updates of interest to city officials. Selected articles are available freely online.

Public Finance Review. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1973- present. Bi-monthly. (

This academic, peer-reviewed journal includes theoretical and empirical articles on U.S. government policies. The journal focuses on public sectors of the economy including allocation, distribution, and stabilization functions.

Public Management. Washington: International City/County Management Association, 1918- present. Monthly (11/yr). (

This trade journal provides articles written by local government managers (city, town, and county levels) to assist others in developing policies and solutions. Some articles are available at no cost online. Articles are written by experienced local government professions and focus on items of interest to practitioners.

Publius: The Journal of Federalism. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1971- present. Quarterly. (

Publius is a quarterly, refereed journal that contains articles about federalism and intergovernmental relations. The focus is primarily the United States, but occasionally other countries are included. Occassionally, Publius will publish special editions covering significant events and trends.

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bullet Follow the Money - From Surpluses to School Buses: Understanding Public Finance
BRASS Program, ALA Annual Conference, June 26, 2006

Disclaimer: This publication has been placed on the web for the convenience of BRASS members. Information and links will not be updated. Posted 19 June 2006.