Income inequality in Latin America has declined during the last decade, in contrast to the experience in many other emerging and developed regions. However, Latin America remains the most unequal region in the world. This study documents the declining trend in income inequality in Latin America and proposes various reasons behind this important development. Using a panel econometric analysis for a large group of emerging and developing countries, we find that the Kuznets curve holds. Notwithstanding the limitations in the dataset and of cross-country regression analysis more generally, our results suggest that almost two-thirds of the recent decline in income inequality in Latin America is explained by policies and strong GDP growth, with policies alone explaining more than half of this total decline. Higher education spending is the most important driver, followed by stronger foreign direct investment and higher tax revenues. Results suggest that policies and to some extent positive growth dynamics could play an important role in lowering inequality further.
The paper is an elaborated report on Nicaragua’s potential economic growth. The challenges and idiosyncratic shocks were immense but the policies of better education, labor contracts, and accomplishments in public investments paved the way for movement of the economy. The external competitiveness and exchange rate assessment also have an important hand. The achievements in the electricity sector and the improvement in reforming the pension system are the prominent aspects. On the whole, the Board considers this growth as a positive trial of development in the global panorama.
This paper investigates Central America's external linkages over the last fifteen years of increased integration in light of the 2008-09 global recession. Using structural VAR models, it is found that a one percent shock to U.S. growth shifts economic activity in Central America by 0.7 to 1 percent, on average. Spillovers from global shocks and the rest of the region also affect activity in some countries. Spillovers are mostly transmitted through advanced country financial conditions and fluctuations in external demand for Central American exports. Shocks to advanced economies associated with the 2008-09 financial crisis lowered economic activity in the region by 4 to 5 percent, on average, accounting for a majority of the observed slowdown. The impact was almost twice as large as elasticities estimated on pre-crisis data would have predicted. These results underscore the importance of operating credible policy frameworks that enable a countercyclical policy response to external shocks.
David Locke Newhouse, Irene Yackovlev, and Mr. Robert Gillingham
This paper uses household survey data to estimate the incidence of tax and spending programs in Honduras. Any such exercise is fraught with difficulty, so our simplifying assumptions are carefully explained. Rather than look at tax and spending completely independently, we evaluate net incidence of major programs-such as health care and pensions-to get a more holistic evaluation of redistribution. Our results show that fiscal policy is, on balance, progressive, but that there is room for significant improvement. In particular, energy subsidies, university education and public pension programs provide disproportionate benefits to higher-income households.
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office
Technical assistance is one of the key services provided by the IMF to member countries—particularly lower income countries. It covers a wide set of activities, from technical assistance to support IMF policy advice to longer-term assistance to support countries’ institutional development. This evaluation report examines the relevance and effectiveness of IMF technical assistance, and derives recommendations for both IMF management and the Executive Board.
This paper discusses that the governments of forty-nine countries have accepted the Articles of Agreement of the IMF. They have accepted the Agreement on their own behalf and in respect of all their colonies, overseas territories, all territories under their protection, suzerainty, or authority and all territories in respect of which they exercise a mandate. Although the concept of a fixed par value and of rates of exchange based on it is of fundamental importance under the Articles of Agreement, provision is also made for the retention, adaptation and introduction of multiple currency practices in certain circumstances. Courts are frequently called upon to decide at what rate of exchange one currency shall be translated into another. The courts of many countries have been faced, both before and after the coming into force of the IMF Agreement, with the problem whether they should recognize the effect of the exchange control regulations of other countries.