Inclusive GovTech: Enhancing Efficiency and Equity Through Public Service Digitalization by Manabu Nose published by IMF (10/2023).
How could the GovTech improve budget processes and execution efficiency? Could the GovTech strengthen redistributive function of public expenditure? Based on an event-study method, this paper finds that the introduction of digital budget payments and e-procurement could significantly enhance budget transparency and help expand the coverage of social assistance to reach the most vulnerable population. Exploiting staggered adoption of digital budget payments, a synthetic control regression identifies meaningful increase in pre-tax income shares among the bottom 50th percentile and female workers, especially for emerging market and developing countries, with effects materializing gradually over 10-year period. The paper delves into the potential mechanism driving these equity benefits, highlighting the reduction in business informality as a primary channel. However, the paper emphasizes that the mere adoption of GovTech strategies or digital technologies is insufficient to unlock its full potential. The outcomes are intricately linked to supporting policies, regulations, organizational and system integration, and robust digital connectivity. The paper underscores that inter-agency coordination facilitated by a dedicated GovTech institution emerges as a critical factor for reaping both efficiency and equity gains from GovTech initiatives.