2019 ABFM Call for Proposals, Deadline May 1st

ABFM 2019 Call for Papers Panels


SEPTEMBER 26-28, 2019



The Association for Budgeting and Financial Management invites you to submit a paper or panel proposal for its annual research conference. This year’s conference will be held September 26-28 in Washington, DC. Though papers have traditionally focused on U.S. state and local government budgeting and financial management, we welcome papers on federal budgeting as well as papers with an international or comparative perspective. This year, there will be a special multiple-session track on public budgeting and financial management in Asia jointly hosted by the China-America Association for Public Affairs and Chinese Public Administration Review (CPAR). We also encourage both academics and practitioners to submit proposals. Below is a list of selected topics on which papers and panels have focused in recent conferences.

Please submit all paper and panel proposals by May 1, 2019, using one of the links above. Proposals will be reviewed and competitively selected. Please submit questions to the conference committee at abfmconference2019@gmail.com. Please send inquiries regarding the special international session track to Elaine Yi Lu, Professor & Director, City University of New York-John Jay College (ylu@jjay.cuny.edu) and Gang Chen, Assistant Professor, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany, State University of New York (gchen3@albany.edu).

We look forward to seeing you in Washington, DC!

Selected Conference Topics:

Tax Policy & Administration Municipal Securities
Budgetary Theory Performance Budgeting
Politics of Budgetary Process Budgeting for National Security
Transportation Finance Debt Financing & Management
Budgeting & Economic Development Education Finance
International & Comparative Budgeting Accounting & Financial Reporting
History of Budgeting Revenue Diversification
Citizen Participation in Budgeting Not-for-Profit Finance & Financial Management
Budget Reform Budget Rules & Institutions
Current Trends in Public Finance Financial Management
Public Pensions Capital Planning & Management
Healthcare Liabilities Financing Urban Growth
Forecasting Public-Private Partnerships
Investment Management Intergovernmental Finance/Fiscal Federalism

Nominations Open for ABFM Officers, Executive Committee – DEADLINE JULY 18TH!

ABFM is now seeking candidates to stand for election for Vice Chair-Elect (2018) and for three openings on its Executive Committee (2019-2021).

The Vice Chair-Elect becomes Vice Chair in 2019, then becomes the Chair-Elect in 2020 and serves as the Conference Chair for 2020 conference, and Chair of ABFM in 2021.  The three Executive Committee members will serve for a period of three years.

The election will be conducted on-line.  The candidate receiving the highest vote for Vice-Chair-Elect will claim that position.  The three candidates who receive the highest number of votes for the Executive Committee will claim those positions.

Interested individuals are encouraged to examine the ABFM By-Laws (click here to view) to review the responsibilities of each position.

Individuals interested in standing as candidates for Vice Chair-Elect or the Executive Committee should submit a short biographical statement to Dan Smith at dansmith@udel.edu AND Bryan Sullivan at abfm2018chairbsullivan@gmail.com by Wednesday, July 18, 2018.  Please clearly indicate the office you are seeking.

Elections are expected to be completed by end of July or early August with terms beginning on January 1, 2019.

Call for Nominations for 2018 Curro Student Paper Award

Nominations are now being accepted for the Michael Curro Student Paper Award

Nominations due June 30, 2018

Graduate students who have written outstanding papers in the field as part of a course, independent study, or other faculty supervised projects are eligible. The paper must be nominated by a faculty supervisor and must have been written between June 2017 and June 2018. It may not have been previously presented at a professional conference. Papers written by more than one student are not eligible. The papers can represent a variety of formats and topics within the broader interests of ABFM. In the past, they have included traditional research efforts, critical literature comparisons, or analyses of financial documents. The topics have ranged across the discipline to include papers on federal budgeting, local government financing, state revenue sources, capital planning, trends in debt issuance, financial and accounting practices, and financing of specific policy functions.

Papers will be judged by both academic and practitioner members of ABFM and will be evaluated according to general criteria: contribution to the field, the appropriateness of the methodology, the quality of the research analysis, clarity of writing, logic of presentation, and originality and creativity. Faculty members responsible for nominating students should send a letter of nomination that includes the student’s name, the degree the student is pursuing, the school name, when the paper was written, and the thesis or purpose of the paper. If the paper was written for a class, please include the name of the course and when the course was offered. If the paper was part of the student’s extracurricular duties, please describe these duties. A financial award and commemorative plaque will be presented to the winner. Authors of other top papers not selected will be encouraged to present their papers in appropriate ABFM panels. Conference registration will also be waived for the winner.

Nomination letters and copies of student papers should be sent as e-mail (.doc file or PDF) attachments by June 30 to Committee Chair, Benjamin Clark (bclark2@uoregon.edu).  You will receive confirmation from Benjamin Clark.

Annual Conference Just 2 Weeks Away!

By Bryan Sullivan, 2017 Conference Chair

It’s almost here! Come join us at ABFM’s 29th Annual Research Conference, September 28 – 30, 2017 in Washington, DC at the newly renovated Marriott Washington Georgetown.

Click Here for Our Updated Conference Agenda
Thursday’s (September 28, 2017) schedule is anchored by four international budgeting and financial management break out panels coordinated by members of the China-America Association for Public Affairs and the Chinese Public Administration Review.  The annual awards luncheon has been moved from its traditional slot on Friday to Thursday (so that our colleagues can observe the Yom Kippur holiday).  At the luncheon we will be presenting the winners of the Aaron Wildavsky Award, the Michael S. Curro Student Paper Award, and Public Financial Publications’ Jesse Burkhead Award.  There will also be a special session to celebrate the life of the late Paul Posner.  We will end the day with a reception.

Friday (September 29, 2017) is American Association for Budget and Program Analysis (AABPA) Day at the conference.  AABPA is our companion organization and our co-sponsor of Public Budgeting and Finance.  Members of AABPA will be presenting three break out panels and the plenary session.  The plenary, Tax Reform and the Debt: A Brief History of Debt Limit as Vehicle to Effect Budgetary Change, will be presented by Maya MacGuineas, President, Citizens for a Responsible Federal Budget.  The graduate student poster session and a meet and greet with the new editors of Public Budgeting and Finance will also take place Friday.  This day too ends with a reception (two drink tickets and larger selection of food because lunch is not provided).

Saturday (September 30, 2017) morning will have ten breakout sessions on a wide range of topics including state and local budgeting, international budgeting, pensions, and not-for-profit finances.

Please join us at the conference.  We look forward to seeing you there.  The preliminary schedule, along with registration and sponsorship can be found here on ABFM’s website.  If you have any questions, please contact me, Bryan Sullivan, ABFM 2017 Conference Chair, at abfm2017conference@gmail.com .

Data, Performance on Minds of State Budget Directors

Originally Posted at NASBO

By Kathryn White, Senior Policy Analyst

On August 17-18 in Chicago, with the generous support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, NASBO convened state budget directors and analysts from 34 states for insightful discussions and presentations on how states can advance the use of performance data and evidence in budgeting, planning and management. Throughout the course of the meeting, participants heard from their peers in other states as well as experts from several nonprofit organizations about the challenges and opportunities associated with the use of evidence-based policymaking and data analytics in state government. Some common themes, lessons, and promising practices also emerged from the sessions.

Evidence-Based Policymaking & the Budget Process
With a rising number of rigorous evaluation studies available and more accessible, states are increasing their use of evidence in decision-making. Sara Dube and Nick Dantzer of the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative kicked off the meeting with a national overview of where states are with respect to evidence-based policymaking, drawing on the findings from their 50-state report released earlier this year. They also shared some practical lessons on implementing and executing Results First (or a similar model), pointing to state-specific examples of how different governmental entities use evidence in the budget process, including the executive budget office in Colorado, the legislature in Mississippi, and a criminal justice agency in New York State. Embedding evidence requirements into budget instructions, establishing a percentage of budgeted funds to be designated to evidence-based programs, and incentivizing providers to use evidence-based programs through contracts and grants are a few of the tools states are using to advance evidence-based policymaking.

By developing program inventories, determining which programs are evidence-based and what their expected benefits are, states can conduct cost-benefit analysis to measure likely return on investment of different programs and compare alternatives. This fuller understanding of program benefits (and costs) can help ensure scarce resources are distributed most effectively and efficiently. And in difficult budget times, programs that can demonstrate evidence of effectiveness may be able to avoid funding cuts.

The Potential of Integrated Data Systems
Dennis Culhane from Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and Bob Goerge from Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago spoke about how states and other jurisdictions are developing and using integrated data systems (IDS) to harness the power of administrative data. Most often, an IDS will include administrative data across a variety of state agencies, including child welfare, juvenile and adult justice, health care and Medicaid, housing, education, behavioral health, workforce development, employment and others. When individual level (deidentified) data are linked, this can enable research and program evaluation to help address complex, multi-sector social problems affecting children and families, such as educational achievement gaps, prisoner recidivism, and the opioid crisis, which are not easily solved when agencies work in silos.

An integrated data system is not primarily an IT project, but rather about setting up a governance structure that establishes and fosters collaboration and data sharing across agencies. To establish an IDS, policymakers and researchers must grapple with issues around governance and ethics, legality, technology and data security, and data standards. However, if a state can overcome these hurdles, an IDS can be a fairly low-cost tool with the power to yield high returns if implemented and used effectively. Interest in creating an integrated data system is spreading, and nine states are already signed up to participate in AISP’s Learning Communities, designed to help new sites launch an IDS.

Lessons from States on Using Evidence and Data
Participants also had the chance to hear directly from states that are at various stages of implementing evidence-based approaches in the budget process as well as other data-informed efforts to improve government efficiency and effectiveness. Minnesota explained how their budget office has implemented the Results First model, including completing program inventories and conducting cost-benefit analysis, and shared some early lessons learned from the process. Illinois discussed the activities and impact so far of the Budgeting for Results Commission in the state, established by legislation in 2010. Utah talked about how the budget office has helped state agencies implement the SUCCESS framework to improve government performance and operational capacity, as well as requiring agencies to provide information on expected outcomes and evidence of program effectiveness in budget requests. Michigan talked about executive branch efforts to consolidate core “good government” functions under the new statewide Office of Performance and Transformation, created by executive order in 2016. Delaware shared more about its new Government Efficiency and Accountability Review (GEAR) Board, also created by executive order, to improve strategic planning and government performance. Many other participants in the room chimed in with questions, examples, and advice based on their own states’ experiences and efforts to use data and evidence in governing.

Overall, several common themes, key lessons and promising practices emerged from these discussions based on state experiences using evidence and data in budgeting and policymaking. For example:

  • Change is incremental: Integrating performance measures and evidence-based approaches into budgeting can be a lengthy process, and will not happen overnight. Implementation tends to be evolutionary and happens in stages.
  • Statutory framework can be helpful: States that have passed legislation to require performance management, evidence-based policymaking, and other data-driven efforts have generally found that having a statute in place helps legitimize and sustain an initiative, particularly beyond the current administration. It is also helpful when the legislature provides funding for dedicated staff resources to support the effort.
  • Fidelity monitoring: To achieve the goals of evidence-based policymaking – more effective, efficient allocation of resources that ultimately leads to better outcomes – it is important to ensure that effective evidence-based programs are not only funded, but also implemented as intended. Establishing requirements for and dedicating resources to implementation oversight, quality assurance and program evaluation can support fidelity monitoring efforts.
  • Consolidating “good government” efforts: Some states have moved towards centralizing various initiatives aimed at improving government efficiency and effectiveness (such as continuous improvement, performance management, budgeting for results) under one statewide office or commission, and appointing agency representatives to coordinate those efforts at the agency level.
  • Approach needs to be tailored to fit the state: States differ in their appropriation laws and procedures, elected official term limits, whether they have a contractual or county-delegated system for delivering social services, gubernatorial budget authorities, and so on. When looking to another state’s approach to evidence-based policymaking or performance budgeting as a model, it is important to be mindful of how the approach might need to be tweaked (or substantially revised) to work within another state.
  • Another “tool in the toolbox”: Cost-benefit analysis and other evidence-based approaches are tools to better inform decision-making, but they will never be the sole – or even primary – basis for budget decisions. Constitutional and statutory requirements, political priorities, distributional concerns, resource constraints, federal regulations and other considerations will always play a role.

The meeting sessions and suggestions from participants provided NASBO a number of ideas for future research and activities. Going forward, NASBO plans to develop a working inventory of various state-level initiatives, programs and organizational structures focused on using evidence and data in decision-making, with other state-specific information to give context for making informed comparisons. NASBO will also explore more ways to highlight best practices and successful models for specific topics of interest in this area, such as sustaining an evidence-based initiative across administration changes, advancing the use of data analytics, and leveraging local research communities. And we look forward to convening state budget officers and analysts together for more fruitful discussions and trainingsin the future, as we expect interest in how to integrate evidence, performance measures, and “big data” into state budgeting and management decisions will only continue to grow.

For more resources on this topic from NASBO, check out:

If you have questions or would like more information on this topic, please contact Kathryn White at kwhite@nasbo.org or 202-624-5949.