Investing Together

Working Effectively across Levels of Government

In series:OECD Multi-level Governance Studiesview more titles

Published on December 05, 2013

Also available in: French

Why 'investing together'? Public investment is not only a major strategic responsibility for governments but also a shared one: almost two-thirds of public investment is undertaken by sub-national governments and major projects tend to involve more than one government level. In a tight fiscal landscape, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of investment, while maximising its impact on growth outcomes, is paramount. Identifying and addressing the governance bottlenecks that impede smooth co-ordination across levels of government can make a significant contribution towards reaching that end.This report dissects the relationships different government actors form vertically, across levels of government, and also horizontally, across both sectors and jurisdictions. It helps policy makers to understand more systematically how co-ordination works and why it so often doesn’t, as well as shedding light on the mechanisms countries have developed to govern these interactions. In doing so, it addresses another key requisite to organising co-ordination, namely government capacity. Sub-national actors, especially, need to be equipped with the right skills and resources to carry out their responsibilities and to engage with stakeholders, across the public, private and civil society sectors. This report offers a toolkit to policy makers to assess their needs for capacity development


Acronyms and abbreviations
Executive summary
How to do better with less: Working across levels of government to invest more effectively
Co-ordinating investments across levels of government
Sub-national capacities for effective public investment
Case study summaries
National and regional questionnaires
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This report served as a basis for the Principles on Public Investment which became an OECD instrument on 12 March 2014.

The report is based in part on a national questionnaire responded to by 23 countries and seven regional case studies. Data on sub-national finances as well as analyses of the impact of both of the quality of government and the level of public investment on growth underpin the analysis.

The Principles on Effective Public Investment will help governments assess the strengths and weaknesses of their public investment capacity and set priorities for improvement.


The "Toolkit" is an on-line resource providing implementation guidance for the OECD Recommendation on Effective Public Investment Across Levels of Government. It supports both implementation and peer learning, with indicators and good practices from countries, regions, and municipalities.

The self-assessment section of this Toolkit will help governments assess the strengths and weaknesses of their public investment capacity, with a focus on the sub-national level. This, in turn, will help policy makers set priorities for improvement.