加纳政府的公款花费,到处都是烂尾桥!——Public spending in Ghana. High noon for half-bridges

效率低下、臃肿、腐败是每个大公司的通病,全球目前依然没有很好的解决方案。在某种程度上,国家也是一个超大型的公司。但对于一个国家来说,有时候是不能够考虑投入产出比。而且,基于证据和绩效的决策,并不一定能被政客接受。

Ghana has long struggled to spend sensibly. A new initiative may help.

加纳政府一直在努力找一个聪明的方法发钱。一项新的措施可能会有所帮助。

Tuberculosis is a terrible disease . It destorys lungs from the inside out , leaving sufferers coughing up the bloody remains. In Ghana too few people are diagnosed in time: the disease kills over 15,000 people a year, about 5% of all deaths. But a recent pilot scheme shows that diagnosis can be faster and more accurate simply by whisking samples from clinics that lack the latest testing technology to the nearest well-equipped testing centre. This could save more than 3,000 lives in six years if plans to scale up were followed through. Since the benefits are estimated at 166 times the costs over 20 years, the scheme is patently a fine idea.

肺结核是一种可怕的疾病。它从里到外的摧毁了患者的肺,让患者不断的咳嗽出血。在加纳,很少人能够得到及时诊断:这种疾病每年杀死了超过1.5万人,越占总死亡人口的 5%。但是最近的一个试点显示,只要把样本从缺乏最新诊断技术的诊所送到最近的设备优良的测试中心,就可以让检测变得更快速精确。如果这向计划,规模扩大并得以实施,每年或许能够拯救3000个生命。估计,未来20年的收益将是花费的166倍,因此,这项计划显然是个好主意。

Ghana is not famous for spending public money wisely. A study in 2015 found that, once under construction, a third of municipal infrastructure projects are never finished: half-built bridges litter the country. Spending is also highly political. In every election year bar one since 2000 the fiscal deficit has jumped sharply as the government of the day splurged to grab votes. imf bail-outs and adjustment programmes have tended to follow. Last year Ghana completed its 16th.

加纳并不擅长花费公款。2015年的一项研究发现,一旦在建,有三分之一的市政基础设施项目就永远不会完成。该国到处都是烂尾桥。公款花费也到处充满了政治化。自从2000以来,每一个选举年,因为政府整日为赢得选票挥霍,财政赤字都大幅飙升。国际基金组织的援救计划和调整计划往往紧随其后。去年,加纳完成了其第16次。

Ghana’s National Development Planning Commission (ndpc) and the Copenhagen Consensus, an international think-tank, have teamed up to create a new initiative called the Ghana Priorities. It hopes to steer the government away from pork barrels by using solid evidence to assess which projects give the most bang for each buck.

加纳的国际发展规划委员会和国际智库Copenhagen Consensus 合作创建了一个新的叫做 Ghana Priorities 的倡议。希望利用确切的数据去评估哪些项目高效利用了每一块钱,以让政府远离“猪肉桶”。

More than 400 ideas have been narrowed down to 79. The costs and benefits of each have been analysed in peer-reviewed research papers and given a ratio. The best, such as ones for improving tb diagnostics and for universal malaria testing, have benefits worth over 100 times the costs (health schemes tend to score well). A landtitle programme to clarify property rights promises benefits more than 90 times greater than the investment required.

超过400个方案被压缩到79个。每个方案的花费和收益都已经经过同行评议的分析并且给了一个比例。最好的方案,比如改善结核病诊断和普及疟疾检测的方案,能够获取超过100倍的收益。一个明确产权的计划,获取的利益是所需投资的90倍以上。

Many fairly simple interventions have benefits that are reckoned to be a good 30 or so times higher than their costs. One community health-care programme included extra training for front-line staff, simplified health surveys so data can be used more easily and a flexible budget for local health clinics. These cut the deaths of newborn babies by half, according to a study published in 2019.

许多十分简单的干预计划,预计效益是其成本的30倍左右。一项社区保健方案,包括对一线工人进行额外的培训、简单的健康调查以便数据能够更容易的被使用、以及对社区诊所更灵活的预算。根据2019年的一项研究表明,这些措施将新生婴儿死亡率降低了一半。

Cost-benefit analysis does not capture everything. It does not always identify precisely who benefits and who pays. The quality of the data and the number-crunching varies. The indirect effects of long-term national development projects are tough to analyse. But other methods are worryingly subjective. The team running the initiative asked a panel of economists and Ghana’s ministers for finance and planning to rank the proposals. They promoted r&d spending, which is superficially attractive but has a low benefit-cost ratio of only 1.5, from 62nd to 15th place.

投入产出分析,并不能够覆盖所有方面。它并不是总能够精确确定谁是受益者,谁应当付款。数据的质量和数据的处理方式各不相同。国家长期发展项目的间接影响,很难分析。但其它方法的主观性让人担忧。该项目的运作小组,要求一个由经济学家和政府财政规划部官员组成的小组,并且计划对这些建议进行排名。他们推动了研发支出,这在表面上看起来很有吸引力,但是从第62位到第15位,其回报效率低至1.5倍。

The real test is what happens next. The nominally apolitical ndpc says the findings are already influencing how the government spends in response to covid-19. It also hopes that the research will shape Ghana’s medium-term development plan.

真正的考验是接下来会发生什么。名义上不关心政治的规划委员会说到,这个发现已经影响到政府应对新冠的支出。它还希望,这项研究将会改变加纳的中期发展规划。

But James Dzansi of the International Growth Centre, a think-tank, says that party manifestos often knock aside such plans. An election beckons in December. Similar initiatives in the past have faltered when governments changed, says Mr Dzansi. The Ghana Priorities has better evidence underpinning it, he says. “Will this also lose momentum when a new government comes to power?” No matter who is in charge, though, wonks themselves may need to keep promoting evidence-based policies over political ones, says Koku Awoonor-Williams, one such wonk.

但是国际增长中心智库人员,James Dzansi 说到,政府的宣言经常驳回类似计划。12月将会举行大选。Dzansi 先生说到,当政府更替时,类似的举措都失败的。Ghana Priorities 有更好的证据证明这一点,他说道:“当新政府上台时,势头会减弱吗?”。学者 Koku Awoonor-Williams 认为,无论谁掌权,学者们自身可能需要继续推动基于证据的政策而不是基于政治的政策。

以上译自经济学人,仅供个人学习,如有侵权,请联系删除。

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