Public expenditure policy is important in all economies and in all sectors. Its importance in the agricultural sector in developing countries is magnified by the relative size of the sector and by the government ' s historical role in sectoral development. While there have been many detailed studies of public spending in individual countries, few have focussed on the agricultural sector, and fewer still have done so in a comparative cross-country context. But this kind of study can help to better understand the links between structural adjustment and public spending policy in agriculture, and to suggest ways in which the two can be mutually supportive. This paper examines in depth the experience of five countries with reforms of agricultural expenditure policy, and more broadly the experiences of many other countries. From this evidence, the paper draws lessons on best practices for the future. The analysis and the data on expenditure reform programs in a large number of countries should make this a useful tool for those concerned with public sector spending policy, both in and outside the World Bank.