Patterns of Budget Agent Interaction as Indicators of Internal Transparency in the Budget Processes of Three Southeastern States: A Step Toward Normative Budget Theory
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
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The budget process in any state is more than the structural hierarchy, budget calendars and procedures, and the technical preferences of the day, it is also a network of budget agents interacting to complete the budget. This process occurs within the formal and informal connections among agents. Symmetry of information flow among exchange relationships can potentially generate a transparent budget culture overtime. An improved flow of information should facilitate improved decision-making within the budget process as a pattern of transparency emerges. This dissertation examines the budget process of three southeastern states, North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. It maps information flow among state budget analysts using social network analysis. The strength of information-exchange relationships is used to define internal transparency in the budget network as an empirical aid to the development of normative budget theory. The agents in each state completed a survey that included questions about which agents they interact with and the level of relationship maintained through their budget process interactions. The data collected (attributes & interactions) was formatted and loaded to UCINET to calculate the social network measures defined by Caroline Haythornthwaite’s information exchange model. Each state’s measures for cohesion (density & centralization), structural equivalence, prominence, range, brokerage, and strength of ties were analyzed. Patterns of budget agent behavior in information exchange were revealed as indicators of internal transparency.