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Yasmin Alem and Jacinta Bernadette Shirakawa
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.
Alassane Drabo
The three main financial inflows to developing countries have largely increased during the last two decades, despite the large debate in the literature regarding their effects on economic growth which is not yet clear-cut. An emerging literature investigates the dependence of their effects on some country characteristics such as human and physical capital constraint, macroeconomic policy and institutional capacity. This paper extends the literature by arguing that climate shocks may undermine the effect of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), official development assistance (ODA) and migrants’ remittances on economic expansion. Based on neoclassical growth framework, the theoretical model indicates that FDI, ODA, and remittances improve economic growth, and the size of the effect increases with good absorptive capacity. However, climate shocks reduce this positive effect of financial flows in developing countries. Using a sample of low and middle-income countries from 1995 to 2018, the empirical investigation confirms the theoretical conclusions. Developing countries should build strong resilience to climate change. Actions are also needed at global level to reduce greenhouse gases emissions, and build strong structural resilience to climate shocks especially in developing countries.
Mario Pessoa, Andrew Okello, Artur Swistak, Muyangwa Muyangwa, Virginia Alonso-Albarran, and Vincent de Paul Koukpaizan
The value-added tax (VAT) has the potential to generate significant government revenue. Despite its intrinsic self-enforcement capacity, many tax administrations find it challenging to refund excess input credits, which is critical to a well-functioning VAT system. Improperly functioning VAT refund practices can have profound implications for fiscal policy and management, including inaccurate deficit measurement, spending overruns, poor budget credibility, impaired treasury operations, and arrears accumulation.This note addresses the following issues: (1) What are VAT refunds and why should they be managed properly? (2) What practices should be put in place (in tax policy, tax administration, budget and treasury management, debt, and fiscal statistics) to help manage key aspects of VAT refunds? For a refund mechanism to be credible, the tax administration must ensure that it is equipped with the strategies, processes, and abilities needed to identify VAT refund fraud. It must also be prepared to act quickly to combat such fraud/schemes.
Johannes Emmerling, Davide Furceri, Francisco Líbano Monteiro, Mr. Prakash Loungani, Mr. Jonathan David Ostry, Pietro Pizzuto, and Massimo Tavoni
COVID-19 has had a disruptive economic impact in 2020, but how long its impact will persist remains unclear. We offer a prognosis based on an analysis of the effects of five previous major epidemics in this century. We find that these pandemics led to significant and persistent reductions in disposable income, along with increases in unemployment, income inequality and public debt-to-GDP ratios. Energy use and CO2 emissions dropped, but mostly because of the persistent decline in the level of economic activity rather than structural changes in the energy sector. Applying our empirical estimates to project the impact of COVID-19, we foresee significant scarring in economic performance and income distribution through 2025, which be associated with an increase in poverty of about 75 million people. Policy responses more effective than those in the past would be required to forestall these outcomes.