This Selected Issues paper on Cameroon identifies impediments to growth acceleration in the country. A two-step approach is followed: first, the characteristics of middle-income countries currently experiencing growth accelerations are examined; and, second, the extent to which Cameroon shares these characteristics is assessed. The focus of the analysis is a set of variables the literature has identified as helping to accelerate growth. This paper also presents a possible fiscal strategy for Cameroon based on the permanent income approach.
Economic adjustment and reform programs, including those supported by international financial institutions (IFIs), must cope with informational asymmetries and special interest politics. This presents a particularly serious issue when IFIs make structural economic reforms a condition for providing economic assistance. This paper examines what conditions must be satisfied to make conditional assistance programs viable; that is, to ensure that the assistancereceiving government not only takes the assistance but also implements reforms, without compromising the country's political stability and the IFI's financial integrity. It is pointed out that tightly budgeted conditional assistance programs never bring about reforms, that the IFI's cost of viable programs rises with the dependence of the government on domestic interest groups, and that unconditional assistance might be viable when conditional assistance is not.
Improving the effectiveness of financial assistance programs is a priority of international financial institutions (IFIs). This paper examines the effectiveness of alternative assistance instruments in a dynamic political economy framework. Economic policies of the receiving country are distorted by the influence of a domestic interest group. The assistance-providing IFI aims at reducing these distortions. The IFI provides assistance either as grants or loans, and either conditionally on reducing policy distortions or unconditionally. The paper shows that, other things constant, one-time grants are more effective than loan rollovers when assistance is unconditional, but that the opposite is true when assistance is conditional.
This study investigates the relationship between production efficiency in financial intermediation and financial system size. The study predicts and tests for the existence of "systemic scale economies" (SSEs), whereby value-maximizing intermediaries operating in large systems are expected to have lower production costs and lower costs of risk absorption and reputation signaling than intermediaries operating in small systems. The study investigates different channels through which the SSEs work their effects through the intermediaries and estimates such effects using a large banking data panel. The study shows strongly supporting evidence in favor of SSEs. It also finds that the institutional environment, the risk environment, and market concentration affect significantly the production efficiency of financial intermediaries.