What do we know about earmarking revenues for health?

Funding health sector priorities like moving towards UHC can be challenging, especially when a country’s budget is already straining to meet multiple demands across sectors.

Earmarking revenue is one mechanism that countries use to increase fiscal space and mobilize resources for the health sector. While there is vast country experience with earmarking, and many types of earmarks that can be used, there is little practical evidence or documentation of these experiences: Do earmarks bring the intended benefit of a stable and growing resource base for the health sector? On the other hand, are opponents of earmarking correct—do they introduce rigidity and inefficiency into the government budgeting process?

The Results for Development Institute is collaborating with the World Health Organization to collect and synthesize qualitative country experience mobilizing revenue for the health sector through earmarks, as part of the Montreux Collaborative Agenda on Fiscal Space, Public Financial Management, and Health Financing.

So far we have identified at least 85 countries with documented policies (currently or previously) to earmark revenues for health. The way these earmarks are structured vary, and our generic typology has been designed as a framework to help describe some of these nuances as we gather more information. We are also actively assembling this information in a living Database on Earmarking Revenue for Health, available below for download and comment.

Please help us keep the database (below) accurate and up-to-date, and share your experience with earmarking revenue for health through our online survey.

Technical Facilitation Team

Cheryl Cashin

Results for Development Institute

Danielle Bloom

Results for Development Institute

Recent Blogs

Earmarking — A Safe Bet to Finance Health?

Domestic resource mobilization for UHC can be challenging, especially when a country’s budget is already strained.