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Mr. David Coady, Devin D'Angelo, and Brooks Evans
Fiscal policy is a key tool for achieving distributional objectives in advanced economies. This paper embeds the discussion of fiscal redistribution within the standard social welfare framework, which lends itself to a transparent and practical evaluation of the extent and determinants of fiscal redistribution. Differences in fiscal redistribution are decomposed into differences in the magnitude of transfers (fiscal effort) and in the progressivity of transfers (fiscal progressivity). Fiscal progressivity is further decomposed into differences in the distribution of transfers across income groups (targeting performance) and in the social welfare returns to targeting due to varying initial levels of income inequality (targeting returns). This decomposition provides a clear distinction between the concepts of progressivity and targeting, and clarifies the relationship between them. For illustrative purposes, the framework is applied to data for 28 EU countries to determine the factors explaining differences in their fiscal redistribution and to discuss patterns in fiscal redistribution highlighted in the literature.
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.
Mr. Saleh M. Nsouli and Mr. Oleh Havrylyshyn

Abstract

This volume reviews the experience of 25 non-Asian transition economies 10 years into their transformation to market economies. The volume is based on an IMF conference held in February 1999 in Washington, D.C., to take stock of the achievements and the challenges of transition in the context of three questions: How far has transition progressed ineach country? What factors explain the differences in the progress made? And what remains to be done?

Mr. Ke-young Chu, Mr. Hamid R Davoodi, and Mr. Sanjeev Gupta
This paper reviews income distribution in developing (and transition) countries in recent decades. On average, before-tax income distribution in developing countries is less unequal than in industrial countries. However, unlike industrial countries, developing countries in general have not been able to use tax and transfer policies effectively to reduce income inequality. During the 1980s and 1990s, many developing countries experienced an increase in income inequality. The government health care and primary and secondary education programs in developing countries are not well targeted, but their incidence tends to be progressive.
Mr. Hans Genberg
This paper discusses issues related to the sequencing of the reforms that are necessary to transform the economies in Eastern Europe into market economies. It is first argued that the transition path of these economies will be smoother and less costly if a clear statement of the ultimate goals of the reforms is made at the outset. Interdependence between different aspects of the reforms implies that an appropriate strategy is to move on a broad front from the very beginning of the transformation process dealing simultaneously with macroeconomic stabilization, price reforms and convertibility, and privatization of state enterprises. It is also argued that a rapid reform process is preferable to a gradual one.