Archived Series > Occasional Papers

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Ms. Annalisa Fedelino

Abstract

The question of what makes fiscal decentralization work is faced by many policymakers around the world. This book draws on both the relevant literature and policy and technical advice provided by the IMF to a wide range of member countries, and discusses the key factors that help make decentralization sustainable, efficient, and equitable from a macroeconomic perspective. It focuses on institutional reforms (in the revenue and expenditure assignments to different levels of government, the design of intergovernmental transfers, and public financial management systems) that are suited to different countries circumstances, and their appropriate sequencing.

Mr. Jack Diamond

Abstract

With increasing frequency, the IMF has assisted middle-income countries, especially emerging economies, in adopting the types of budget reforms that have been introduced in many Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries - reforms that emphasize performance and results achieved from the use of public resources. This paper examines the experience of OECD countries in introducing such reforms and assesses whether the same reform strategy be applied to non-OECD countries. It examines how emerging economies should begin such reforms, and how they should be sequenced thereafter. Based on a thorough review of the technical assistance provided by the IMF's Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) to middle-income countries, this paper will be useful to policymakers and administrators in emerging economies who are contemplating such reforms.

Ms. Rina Bhattacharya, Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Shamsuddin Tareq, Mr. Alex Segura-Ubiergo, and Mr. Todd D. Mattina

Abstract

This paper discusses experiences in reestablishing fiscal management in postconflict countries. Building fiscal institutions in postconflict countries essentially entails a three-step process: (1) creating a legal or regulatory framework for fiscal management; (2) establishing or strengthening fiscal authority; and (3) designing appropriate revenue and expenditure policies while simultaneously strengthening revenue administration and public expenditure management. Based on experiences in 14 postconflict countries, the paper reviews the challenges in rebuilding fiscal institutions in these countries, and identifies key priorities in the fiscal area following the cessation of hostilities.

Mr. Brad Setser, Mr. Ioannis Halikias, Mr. Alexander Pitt, Mr. Christoph B. Rosenberg, Mr. Brett E. House, Mr. Jens Nystedt, and Mr. Christian Keller

Abstract

The analysis of currency and maturity mismatches in sectoral balance sheets has increasingly become a regular element in the IMF’s tool kit for surveillance in emerging market countries. This paper describes this so-called balance sheet approach and shows how it can be applied to detect vulnerabilities and shape policy advice. It also provides a broad-brushed overview of how balance sheet vulnerabilities have evolved over the past decade and cites a number of case studies.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

German banks tend to be less profitable than their foreign counterparts. This paper estimates the likely effect of the phaseout of state guarantees for public sector banks, reviews the various ways in which public policy could contribute to their restructuring, and discusses the various arguments for and against public involvement in banking.

Mr. Simon Cueva, Mr. Stephen Tokarick, Mr. Erik J. Lundback, Ms. Janet Gale Stotsky, and Mr. Samuel P. Itam

Abstract

This paper focuses on the independent states that are full members of the Caribbean Community. It provides background information on recent developments in the Caribbean region and lays out the principal policy issues that countries will need to address in the period ahead. The Caribbean countries face several common problems and must deal with similar economic policy issues. Consequently, concentrating on the regional perspective permits a comparison of the individual responses to similar problems. The regional view throws light on the countries' movement toward convergence. The economic prospects for the region are generally satisfactory over the medium term, but the projections depend importantly on the resolve of governments to pursue appropriate policies, as well as favorable developments in the rest of the world. The relatively favorable outlook for the region is not without risks, such as a slowdown in growth in the major trading partner countries or a term of trade shock.

Mr. Joachim Harnack, Mr. Sérgio Pereira. Leite, Ms. Stefania Fabrizio, Ms. Luisa Zanforlin, Mr. Girma Begashaw, and Mr. Anthony J. Pellechio

Abstract

This chapter explores the key relationships between participatory democracy and successful economic development and reviews the early steps of participatory decision making in Ghana. More generally, it sets the stage for a discussion of Ghana's main achievements and failures since 1992 in raising the standard of living of its population and reducing poverty. The high-profile political process that launched constitutional democracy in the 1990s and generated Ghana—Vision 2020 placed poverty reduction at the center of economic policy. Based on a set of price and unit labor cost indicators, Ghana's competitiveness improved in the early 1990s through 1994. The evidence for 1995–98 is quite strong. The Bank of Ghana is suspected to have used administrative means and moral suasion to influence the exchange rate, resisting the cedi's depreciation. The terms-of-trade shock forced the Bank of Ghana to focus more clearly on maintaining adequate foreign reserves. The depreciation may then have helped make the foreign exchange market more active and the nominal exchange rate more representative of market conditions.

Mr. Jack Diamond and Mr. Barry H Potter

Abstract

This paper reviews lessons learned for future technical assistance work in the hope that they will highlight the problems faced when introducing institutional changes in transitional economies. The findings from the assessment are intended principally for those interested in the development of these transition economies, but should also be of wider relevance to those involved in delivering technical assistance on public sector institutional reform. The assessment follows the standard approach to such evaluation work. It first considers whether the basic goal of setting up treasuries has been achieved and whether the resultant reforms are relevant and sustainable. A more marked improvement in public expenditure and fiscal management was, however, also seriously hindered by the hostile macroeconomic environment of perennial crisis. The IMF is now preparing an illustrative standard for budget preparation, based on the Code of Good Practices on Fiscal Transparency, for the countries discussed in this paper.

Mr. Jeffrey M. Davis, Mr. Thomas J Richardson, Mr. Rolando Ossowski, and Mr. Steven A Barnett

Abstract

Privatization has been a key element of structural reform in many developing and transition economies during the last decade. This paper examines the fiscal and macroeconomic issues involved in the privatization of nonfinancial public enterprises in these economies. It considers issues such as the factors determining the proceeds from privatization and the amount accruing to the budget, the uses of proceeds, the impact of privatization on the budget and macroeconomic aggregates, and the privatization component of IMF-supported programs. The empirical evidence draws on case study countries that reflect geographical diversity and are representative of a range of privatization experience in developing and transition economies.

Mr. Markus Rodlauer

Abstract

This Occasional Paper discusses the policies behind the favorable economic performance of the Philippines during the 1990s, when it emerged from a long period of slow growth and economic imbalances and managed to escape the "Asian crisis" relatively unscathed. The Philippines recent experience suggests valuable lessons for emerging economies' efforts at crisis prevention and management, as well as for the country's own policy choices. This paper describes this experience, focusing on the elements behind the relatively strong performance as well as the remaining reform agenda.