You are here

Public Finance Group (PFG)

The Public Finance Group (PFG) at Duke University

The Public Finance Group (PFG) is a faculty unit within the Duke Center for International Development (DCID), an interdisciplinary center within the Sanford School of Public Policy. DCID’s mission is to advance international development policy and practice by transforming the effectiveness of development professionals. It integrates a mid-career master’s program in International Development Policy with Executive Education in public finance and management, specialized policy engagement, and applied research.  DCID faculty and staff continuously strive to create programs that meet the specific needs of each client and student.

More specifically, the Public Finance Group (PFG) specializes in research, executive education and advising services in all areas relating to public-sector financial management and reform. PFG faculty members have extensive international experience in public-sector reform, fiscal decentralization and local-government finance, tax reform, revenue mobilization, financial management, debt management, risk analysis, expenditure decisions and budgeting. They have collectively lived or worked in over 25 countries over the last 20 years.



The four founding members of PFG, Drs. Graham Glenday, GP Shukla, Roy Kelly and Fernando Fernholz, joined DCID in 2001, greatly strengthening DCID’s capabilities in several development-related areas of expertise and in executive education. Before joining DCID, PFG spent over a decade at the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) and as faculty in the Kennedy School of Government and in the Harvard Law School’s International Tax Program. PFG has grown to include a number of DCID faculty members with strong backgrounds in tax policy and administration, public financial management, and project evaluation and risk analysis.


Areas of Work

PFG faculty members have undertaken numerous projects, trainings and research activities related to fiscal policy, capital budgeting, debt management, decentralization, urban policy, and local-government finance throughout the world. The group has extensive expertise in central- and local-government finance, tax policy, financial management, infrastructure investment policies, and service delivery.

The group has also been at the forefront of the renewed global interest in tax reform, fiscal decentralization, project appraisal and program evaluation and the review of regulations and concession contracts through various public financial management reforms in Africa (Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia), Asia (Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand), Latin America and the Caribbean (Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico), the Middle East (Jordan) and Europe and Central Asia (Turkey, Albania, Bulgaria, Poland, Russia, and former republics of the Soviet Union).


Capacity-Building,Training, and Education

In matters of capacity building through training and executive education, PFG faculty members have developed over the past two decades, many programs to meet the diverse needs of policy makers, researchers and other professionals around the world. These programs include five annual on-campus programs, as well as customized on-campus and in-country programs ranging in length from three days to a semester in length. More than 6,000 professionals from about 120 countries have participated in these programs.

Within DCID's Master of International Development Policy degree program, PFG faculty lead two degree specializations– International Taxation Program (ITP) meant for tax administration officials and staff of the revenue/tax side of the ministries of finance, and Public Financial Management (PFM) for officials in ministries of finance and other government agencies involved in budgeting and expenditures. Some governments opt to send 2-3 senior officials every year to these degree programs so that a core group of trained officials is in place within three to four years. 

PFG faculty also direct seven short term executive education programs offered during the summer months to which mid-career officials are nominated by their governments depending on their area of expertise and interest. These programs range from one to four weeks. Two tax related programs are: Tax Analysis and Revenue Forecasting (TARF) and Transfer Pricing (TP). On the expenditure side, they offer a program on Budgeting and Financial Management and one on Project Appraisal and Risk Management (PARM). Faculty also lead a program for officials dealing with fiscal decentralization and local governance issues – Program on Fiscal Decentralization (PFD) and a popular program on Monitoring and Evaluation of Development Programs (M&EDP) which is relevant for government officials of all departments/ministries.