ABFM Conference Summary: Academic Trends and Perspectives

October 25, 2012

Members of the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management (ABFM) convened in New York City October 11-13 for the organization’s annual conference. ABFM, made up mostly of academics but also practitioners, advances the science of public administration and public finance by linking scholarly research with practitioner perspectives. The organization is also responsible for editing and publishing Public Budgeting & Finance, the primary academic journal in the field of government finance.

NASBO staff participated in the annual event and came away with a greater understanding of the current academic research trends, findings and perspectives on a wide spectrum of budgeting and financial management issues. Through conference panel sessions, authors discussed their data driven research in a number of areas pertinent to state budget officers including K-12 education expenditures, pension gaps, rainy day funds state credit ratings, countercyclical fiscal policies and capacity, municipal bankruptcy, Medicaid expansion, performance budgeting, fiscal federalism, and more.

Panel sessions at the ABFM conference indicate that scholarly research efforts are focused on many of the same conversations that state and federal policy-makers are engaged in, such as  public pensions, municipal bond markets, post-recession fiscal recovery, social security, the federal appropriation process, the tax base, infrastructure investment and property taxes.

As state and local governments continue to adjust budgets to the changing economic climate, there is clearly no shortage of questions that need answers. However, too often budget practitioners and scholars do not effectively share information to the mutual benefit of both parties. NASBO would like to continue to address this information gap by encouraging budget officers and others interested in ABFM to take a look at the papers presented at last week’s annual conference. The papers will be available at http://www.abfm.org/.