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Patrick Petit, Mario Mansour, and Mr. Philippe Wingender
Fighting the obesity epidemic has so far proven a difficult challenge, given the diversity of natural and processed foods, the complexity of food supply chains, and the fact that targeting excessive caloric consumption is far trickier than reducing overall consumption (as for tobacco). Nevertheless, efforts to curb caloric intake are gearing up and the experience from tobacco control has drawn much attention on a potential role for excise taxes in fighting obesity. Many related questions have therefore been raised as part of the IMF’s capacity development work: Should excises on unhealthy food be used to fight obesity? If so, under what conditions? What are the product and market characteristics that would help identify the relevant tax bases and the rates at which to tax them? While acknowledging that the scientific evidence keeps evolving, this note summarizes the ongoing debate and practice on food excises and on their potential role as a policy tool to fight the obesity epidemic, with a view to assist policymakers in deciding whether to go forward, and if so, how.How to Apply Excise Taxes to Fight Obesity
Mr. Alejandro D Guerson
This paper evaluates policy alternatives to achieve permanent fiscal consolidation in Hungary, based on a general equilibrium calibration. The main finding is that the composition of the consolidation, as determined by the mix of revenue and expenditure measures, has important implications for growth, employment, investment, and other key macroeconomic variables. A reduction in current expenditures yields the smallest GDP contraction in the short term and can increase output in the long term by stimulating labor participation and private investment. On the other end of the spectrum, a consolidation of government investment and corporate taxes are the most costly, as disincentives for private investment result in protracted declines in GDP that compound over time to GDP losses that are multiple times the initial size of the consolidation.
International Monetary Fund
Non-performing loans (NPLs) were found to respond to macroeconomic conditions, such as GDP growth, unemployment, and inflation; there are also strong feedback effects from the banking system to the real economy. This suggests that the high NPLs that many CESEE countries currently face adversely affect the pace of economic recovery. The note also evaluates different policy options to achieve permanent fiscal consolidation in Hungary. A fiscal consolidation based on a reduction in government transfers can stimulate labor participation, and a resulting increase in the returns to capital can increase investment and output in the long term.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
The research summaries in the June 2012 issue of the IMF Research Bulletin are "Public Debt in Advanced Economies and Its Spillover Effects on Long-Term Yields" (by C. Emre Alper and Lorenzo Forni) and "Expansionary Fiscal Contractions: The Empirical Evidence" (by Rina Bhattacharya and Sanchita Mukherjee). The Q&A covers "Seven Questions about Income Inequality" (by Laura Feiveson). Also included in this issue are details on visiting scholars at the IMF, a listing of recently published IMF Working Papers and Staff Discussion Notes, as well as information on IMF Economic Review.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues Paper quantifies the variability of tax elasticities in Lithuania using two alternative methods: rolling regressions and pooled mean group estimator. The analysis is motivated by the systematic variation of tax revenues observed over the economic cycle. Both methods confirm that tax elasticities moved with the cycle, which can be attributed to the procyclical tax compliance tendencies and structural composition effects across tax bases. The results of the study emphasize the importance of accounting for cyclical variation in tax elasticities when making short-term tax revenue projections.
Mr. Tigran Poghosyan and Samya Beidas-Strom
This paper presents and estimates a small open economy dynamic stochastic general-equilibrium model (DSGE) for the Jordanian economy. The model features nominal and real rigidities, imperfect competition and habit formation in the consumer’s utility function. Oil imports are explicitly modeled in the consumption basket and domestic production. Bayesian estimation methods are employed on quarterly Jordanian data. The model’s properties are described by impulse response analysis of identified structural shocks pertinent to the economy. These properties assess the effectiveness of the pegged exchange rate regime in minimizing inflation and output trade-offs. The estimates of the structural parameters fall within plausible ranges, and simulation results suggest that while the peg amplifies output, consumption and (price and wage) inflation volatility, it offers a relatively low risk premium.
International Monetary Fund
Large inflows from the European Union to the New Member States are likely to significantlyimpact macroeconomic outcomes. In this paper, we use the IMF's Global Integrated Monetaryand Fiscal model (GIMF) to analyze the impact of the transfers and show the conditionsunder which they would help speed up convergence. We find that the EU funds need to bedirected predominantly to investment rather than to income support and that to bestaccompany the EU fund inflows, the policy-mix would need to combine counter-cyclicalpolicy with a strong commitment to the existing monetary regime.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper on Hungary reports that the public enterprises may pose significant fiscal risks on account of their quasi-fiscal activities and contingent liabilities. More than 85 percent of the economy is in private hands. According to the Privatization Act, assets may remain in long-term state ownership if they belong to a national public utility provider or are considered to be of strategic importance for the national economy or defense. Capital-intensive and labor-intensive enterprises remain as state property.