Based on internal data, this paper finds that the capacity development program of the IMF’s Statistics Department has prioritized technical assistance and training to fragile and conflict-affected states. These interventions have yielded only slightly weaker results in fragile states than in other states. However, capacity development is constantly needed to make up for the dissipation of progress resulting from insufficient resources that fragile and conflict-affected states allocate to the statistical function, inadequate inter-agency coordination, and the pervasive impact of shocks exogenous to the statistical system. Greater coordination with other capacity development providers and within the IMF can help partially overcome low absorptive capacity in fragile states. Statistical capacity development is more effective when it is tailored to countries’ level of fragility.
Mr. David Amaglobeli, Mr. Valerio Crispolti, Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Pooja Karnane, and Florian Misch
This paper describes a new, comprehensive database of tax policy measures in 23 advanced and emerging market economies over the last four decades. We extract this information from more than 900 OECD Economic Surveys and 37,000 tax-related news from the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation using text-mining techniques. The innovation of this dataset lies in its granularity: changes in the rates and bases of personal and corporate income taxes, value added and sale taxes, social security contributions, excise, and property taxes are systematically documented. In addition, the database provides information on the announcement and implementation dates, whether the measures represent major changes, are part of a broader tax package, and phased in over several years. The paper also presents a range of stylized facts suggesting that information from this database is useful to deepen the analysis of tax policy changes for research and policy purposes.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & and Review Department
The first data and statistics strategy for the Fund comes at a critical time. A fast-changing data landscape, new data needs for evolving surveillance priorities, and persisting data weaknesses across the membership pose challenges and opportunities for the Fund and its members. The challenges emerging from the digital revolution include an unprecedented amount of new data and measurement questions on growth, productivity, inflation, and welfare. Newly available granular and high-frequency (big) data offer the potential for more timely detection of vulnerabilities. In the wake of the crisis, Fund surveillance requires greater cross-country data comparability; staff and authorities face the complexity of integrating new data sources and closing data gaps, while working to address the weaknesses noted by the IEO Report (Behind the Scenes with Data at the IMF) in 2016. The overarching strategy is to move toward an ecosystem of data and statistics that enables the Fund and its members to better meet the evolving data needs in a digital world. It integrates Fund-wide work streams on data provision to the Fund for surveillance purposes, international statistical standards, capacity development, and data management under a common institutional objective. It seeks seamless access and sharing of data within the Fund, enabling cloud-based data dissemination to support data provision by member countries (e.g., the “global data commons”), closing data gaps with new sources including Big Data, and improving assessments of data adequacy for surveillance to help better prioritize capacity development. The Fund also will work with policymakers to understand the implications of the digital economy and digital data for the macroeconomic statistics, including new measures of welfare beyond GDP.