Maria Delgado Coelho, Aieshwarya Davis, Mr. Alexander D Klemm, and Ms. Carolina Osorio Buitron
This paper provides an overview of the relation between tax policy and gender equality, covering labor, capital and wealth, as well as consumption taxes. It considers implicit and explicit gender biases and corrective taxation. On labor taxes, we discuss the well-established findings on female labor supply and present new empirical work on the impact of household taxation. We also analyze the impact of progressivity on pay gaps and labor supply. On capital and wealth taxation, we discuss the implications of lower effective capital income taxation on the personal income tax burden gap across genders. We show that countries with relatively low female shares of capital income and wealth also tend to tax property and inheritances particularly lightly. On consumption taxes, we cover taxes on female hygiene products and excise taxes, which we assess in relation to externalities and differences in consumption patterns across genders.
Mr. David Coady, Samir Jahan, Baoping Shang, and Riki Matsumoto
This paper provides an overview of the design of means-tested Guaranteed Minimum Income schemes, which constitute an important component of social protection systems in European countries. It discusses how key design features differ across countries, including how countries balance the primary objective of poverty alleviation against the desire to both manage the work disincentives inherent in such programs and contain fiscal cost. The analysis finds a clear trade-off between both concerns in practice, with many countries combining low generosity with low benefit withdrawal rates (BWRs) thus prioritizing employment incentives over the primary objective of poverty alleviation. Many countries can reduce this trade off by combining higher generosity with higher BWRs. Countries with very high BWRs should consider reducing these, including through allowing income disregards and time dependent (rather than income-dependent) benefit withdrawal. The work disincentives associated with higher BWRs can also be attenuated through strengthening complementary activation policies that incentivize and support participation in the labor market.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper analyzes that past growth was characterized by a suboptimal allocation of the factors of production and a lack of dynamism in the private sector. By identifying the main constraints to private sector-led growth and higher employment generation, it suggests policies to further shift Egypt’s economic model toward increased private sector participation and integration into global value chains. To this end, reforms should aim at removing the distortions to the optimal allocation of resources in the economy and equip the labor force with the skills needed to benefit fully from future job opportunities. These reforms would also help better integrate women and youth into the job market. The authorities have embarked on a reform program to address these challenges and important steps have already been taken. Improved macrostability and a strong political commitment to reforms present an opportunity to further structural reforms that intensify private sector-led growth and job creation and strengthen trade integration.
This 2014 Article IV Consultation highlights that economic growth in Spain has resumed, and unemployment is falling. Exporters are gaining market share, and the current account is in surplus for the first time in decades. Financial conditions have improved sharply, with sovereign yields at record lows. Business investment is rebounding strongly and private consumption has also started to recover owing to improved employment prospects and rising confidence. Executive Directors have welcomed the improving Spanish economy. They have stressed that labor market reform should be accompanied by product and service market liberalization to maximize the gains to growth and jobs.
This Selected Issues Paper on Belgium provides an overview of the extent of trade and financial openness of Belgium and the links to particular countries. With an export-to-GDP ratio of 79 percent, Belgium belongs to the most open economies in Europe and also globally. Its exports are highly concentrated with a share of three-fourths of total merchandise exports accounted for by the European Union, of which close to two-thirds go to Germany, France, and the Netherlands.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes Portugal’s export performance in 2006 and assesses whether it might augur a sustained recovery. The paper examines the factors underlying the recent export rebound, and searches for signs of fundamental changes in structures of the export industries during the last decade. It highlights the importance of labor market flexibility. Using a four-country version of the IMF Global Economic Model, the paper attempts to illustrate the benefits of labor market reform to help close the competitiveness gap.
This Selected Issues paper contains two studies examining key issues for fiscal management and long-term fiscal sustainability in Spain. The first study discusses how best to ensure fiscal discipline at lower levels of government by examining the institutional setting and mechanisms that make this task particularly challenging in Spain’s highly devolved political and fiscal system. The second study seeks to analyze the potential macroeconomic impact of different approaches to deal with the fiscal costs of aging in Spain.
With pay-as-you-go schemes in place, population aging will impose a heavy fiscal burden on young and future cohorts. However, these cohorts may also profit from larger inheritances as the number of heirs declines. The aim of this paper is to explore the compensating potential of private intergenerational transfers. A dynamic, computable general equilibrium model is employed allowing for a pay-as-you-go scheme, various bequest motives, and an endogenous labor supply. The findings are twofold. First, the increase in future generations' inheritances is insufficient to make up for the demographic burden. Second, increasing the inheritance tax during the demographic transition may alleviate the fiscal burden of future generations by improving overall efficiency.
Private transfers between individuals or through organized charities are increasingly viewed as an alternative for government social insurance programs. This paper models the incentive effects of government subsidized private transfers and finds that while there is a significant welfare benefit to subsidizing private transfers, there is also a significant welfare cost to this policy. It is shown analytically, as well as through simulations, that the optimal subsidy to private transfers is positive for a wide range of parameter values. This result indicates that subsidized private transfers in net terms are welfare enhancing.
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix analyzes the link between Germany’s economic performance and institutions, taking a long-term perspective and focusing on the labor market. The thesis of the paper is that Germany’s institutional arrangements worked exceptionally well during the Wirtschaftswunder era of rapid catch-up growth, resulting in an economic performance that was envied by much of the world. The paper also examines fiscal consolidation and tax reform proposals, and describes the wage structure in Germany.