What's Fair?

Exploring the Behavioral Science of Justice and Fairness

Issues of fairness and justice are central to the work of all government officials, given their roles and power are granted by the will of their constituents and their work can empower and limit the livelihood of those same people. In this series of reports, we will focus on the role of the finance officer, though many of the concepts apply to all public officials. Finance officers are placed in a critical role for these concerns because their work helps decide where the money goes. GFOA’s Code of Ethics identifies fairness as one of five core values of the code. Treating people fairly is one of the “Five Pillars” of GFOA’s Financial Foundations Framework. However, concerns about fairness are multifaceted and complex as well as social and political. GFOA has teamed with Ethical Systems to help define fairness and provide recommendations for local governments navigating issues of fairness within the context of public finance.

Research Reports

ReThinking Budgeting

GFOA's Rethinking Budgeting Initiative is exploring ways to challenge the status quo with local government budgeting. While not the first attempt by GFOA to improve budgeting practices, this project has the goal of ensuring governments promote sustainable organizations, direct limited resources to solve current challenges, and work to improve outcomes for the community.