This note explains the value of strategic foresight and provides implementation advice based on the IMF’s experience with scenario planning and policy gaming. Section II provides an overview of strategic foresight and some of its tools. Scenario planning and policy gaming have been the Fund’s main foresight techniques so far, though other tools have been complementary. Accordingly, section III focuses on the scenario planning by illustrating applications before detailing the methods we have been using, while section IV describes policy gaming including the matrix policy gaming approach with which we have experimented so far. Section V summarizes the key points. In so doing, the note extends an invitation to those in the economics and finance fields (e.g., researchers, policymakers) to incorporate strategic foresight in their analysis and decision making.
Patrick Petit, Mario Mansour, and Mr. Philippe Wingender
Fighting the obesity epidemic has so far proven a difficult challenge, given the diversity of natural and processed foods, the complexity of food supply chains, and the fact that targeting excessive caloric consumption is far trickier than reducing overall consumption (as for tobacco). Nevertheless, efforts to curb caloric intake are gearing up and the experience from tobacco control has drawn much attention on a potential role for excise taxes in fighting obesity. Many related questions have therefore been raised as part of the IMF’s capacity development work: Should excises on unhealthy food be used to fight obesity? If so, under what conditions? What are the product and market characteristics that would help identify the relevant tax bases and the rates at which to tax them? While acknowledging that the scientific evidence keeps evolving, this note summarizes the ongoing debate and practice on food excises and on their potential role as a policy tool to fight the obesity epidemic, with a view to assist policymakers in deciding whether to go forward, and if so, how.How to Apply Excise Taxes to Fight Obesity
Taxing tobacco can help raise much needed revenue and save lives, but it needs to be done well. This “How-to” note provides guidance on the basics of tobacco taxation. How high should tobacco taxes be? Should we use ad valorem or specific taxes? What are the key elements of an efficient tax administration that will secure the tax base and prevent illegal trade? These are important questions that need to be addressed and this note provide a sound first step towards solid policy decisions.