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Virginia Alonso-Albarran, Ms. Teresa R Curristine, Gemma Preston, Alberto Soler, Nino Tchelishvili, and Sureni Weerathunga
Achieving gender equality remains a significant challenge, that has only deepened with the on-set of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gender budgeting (GB) can help promote gender equality by applying a gender perspective to fiscal policies and the budget process. This paper takes stock of GB practices in G20 countries and benchmarks country performance using a GB index and data gathered from an IMF survey. All G20 countries have enacted gender focused fiscal policies but the public financial management (PFM) tools to operationalize these policies are far less established. We find that notwithstanding heterogeneity across countries, the average G20 level of GB practice is relatively low. More progress has been made establishing GB frameworks and budget preparation tools than with budget execution, monitoring and auditing. Too few countries assess the upfront impact of policies on gender and/or evaluate ex-post the effectiveness of policies and programs. Where GB features are in place, they tend to operate as an ‘add-on’, rather than a strategic and integral part of resource allocation decisions. Progress with GB does not appear to be dependent on the level of country development. Key to future efforts will be harnessing opportunities for integrating GB tools into existing PFM systems and more closely linking GB initiatives with PFM reforms.
Samuel Pienknagura and Christopher Evans
Chile’s pension system came under close scrutiny in recent years. This paper takes stock of the adequacy of the system and highlights its challenges. Chile’s defined contribution system was quite influential when introduced, and was taken as an example by other countries. However, it is now delivering low replacement rates relative to OECD peers, as its parameters did not adapt over time to changing demographics and global returns, while informality persists in the labor market. In the absence of reforms, the system’s inability to deliver adequate outcomes for a large share of participants will continue to magnify, as demographic trends and low global interest rates will continue to reduce replacement rates. In addition, recent legislation allowing for pension savings withdrawals to counter the effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, is projected to further reduce replacement rates and increase fiscal costs. A substantial improvement in replacement rates is feasible, via a reform that raises contribution rates and the retirement age, coupled with policies that increases workers’ contribution density.
International Monetary Fund

Abstract

The Global Informal Workforce is a fresh look at the informal economy around the world and its impact on the macroeconomy. The book covers interactions between the informal economy, labor and product markets, gender equality, fiscal institutions and outcomes, social protection, and financial inclusion. Informality is a widespread and persistent phenomenon that affects how fast economies can grow, develop, and provide decent economic opportunities for their populations. The COVID-19 pandemic has helped to uncover the vulnerabilities of the informal workforce.

Hites Ahir, Hendre Garbers, Mattia Coppo, Mr. Giovanni Melina, Mr. Futoshi Narita, Ms. Filiz D Unsal, Vivian Malta, Xin Tang, Daniel Gurara, Luis-Felipe Zanna, Linda G. Venable, Mr. Kangni R Kpodar, and Mr. Chris Papageorgiou
Despite strong economic growth since 2000, many low-income countries (LICs) still face numerous macroeconomic challenges, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the deceleration in real GDP growth during the 2008 global financial crisis, LICs on average saw 4.5 percent of real GDP growth during 2000 to 2014, making progress in economic convergence toward higher-income countries. However, the commodity price collapse in 2014–15 hit many commodity-exporting LICs and highlighted their vulnerabilities due to the limited extent of economic diversification. Furthermore, LICs are currently facing a crisis like no other—COVID-19, which requires careful policymaking to save lives and livelihoods in LICs, informed by policy debate and thoughtful research tailored to the COVID-19 situation. There are also other challenges beyond COVID-19, such as climate change, high levels of public debt burdens, and persistent structural issues.