Public Expenditure Tracking Survey (PETS)

Year of publication : 2016

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The Public Expenditure Tracking Survey (PETS) is a quantitative survey of the supply side of public services, originated and most often conducted by the World Bank. The survey collects information on facility characteristics, financial flows, outputs (services delivered), accountability arrangements, etc. It highlights not only the use and abuse of public money, but also give insights into cost efficiency, decentralization and accountability.

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The PETS unit of observation is typically a service facility and/or local government i.e. frontline providers like schools and clinics.  The first systematic PETS was carried out in Uganda in 1996 to track the funding budgeted for schooling and clinics. In the following decade PETS tracking exercises were conducted in over two dozen other countries, often as part of core analytical and advisory work related to racking exercises have now been conducted in over two dozen other countries, often as part of core
analytical and advisory work related to Public Financial Management.

If carefully and competently collected, the PETS data can have multiple uses. It can serve as powerful simple diagnostic tool in the absence of reliable administrative or financial data. It traces the flow of resources from origin to destination and determines the location and scale of anomaly. 

PETS are distinct, but complimentary to qualitative surveys on the perception of users to service delivery.

While there is no standard formula, typically some of the steps involved in such a survey are:

  • Identification of scope, purpose and actors
  • Design of questionnaires
  • Sampling
  • Execution of survey
  • Data analysis
  • Dissemination
  • Institutionalization

The world bank page on PETs provides additional resources, such as a methodological note and case examples.

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