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Cristian Alonso and Mr. Joey Kilpatrick
While a carbon tax is widely acknowledged as an efficient policy to mitigate climate change, adoption has lagged. Part of the challenge resides in the distributional implications of a carbon tax and a belief that it tends to be regressive. Even when not regressive, poor households could be hurt by a carbon tax, particularly in countries that rely heavily on carbon-intensive energy sources. Using household surveys, we study how a carbon tax may affect households in the Asia Pacific region, the main source of CO2 emissions. We document a wide range of country-specific policies that could be implemented to compensate households, reduce inequality, and build support for adoption.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Abstract

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is still unfolding around the globe. In Asia, as elsewhere, the virus has ebbed in some countries but surged in others. The global economy is beginning to recover after a sharp contraction in the second quarter of 2020, as nationwide lockdowns are lifted and replaced with more targeted containment measures.

Ms. Elena Loukoianova, Yongzheng Yang, Mr. Si Guo, Ms. Leni Hunter, Mrs. Sarwat Jahan, Mr. Fazurin Jamaludin, Umang Rawat, Johanna Schauer, Piyaporn Sodsriwiboon, and Mr. Yiqun Wu
Asia has made significant progress in financial inclusion, but both its across-country and intra-country disparities are among the highest in the world. The gaps between the rich and the poor, rural and urban populations, and men and women remain deep. Income is the main determinant of the level of financial inclusion; but other factors, such as geography, financial sector structure, and policies, also play important roles. While some countries in the Asia-Pacific region are leaders in fintech, on average the region lags behind others in several important areas such as online (internet) purchases, electronic payments, mobile money, and mobile government transfers. This Departmental Paper aims to take stock of the development and current state of financial inclusion and shed light on policies to advance financial inclusion in the region. The research focuses on the impact of financial inclusion on economic growth, poverty reduction, and inequality, linkages between financial inclusion and macroeconomic policies, as well as structural policies that are important for improving financial inclusion. Given the increasing importance of financial technologies (fintech), the paper also provides a snapshot of the fintech landscape in the Asia-Pacific.
International Monetary Fund

Abstract

During the past financial year, the IMF’s 189 member countries faced a number of pressing challenges. IMF work on these challenges - slower trade, declining productivity, gender inequality, inclusive growth, and debt management - is a central focus of this 2017 Annual Report.

International Monetary Fund
This is a high-level report on progress in addressing recurring issues identified by the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO). The Board endorsed the proposal in the Chairman’s Summing Up for the Independent Evaluation Office Report on Recurring Issues from a Decade of Evaluation – Lessons for the IMF (BUFF/14/58, 6/11/14) that staff prepare a separate high-level report on the status of initiatives that address the recurring issues identified by the IEO, noting that the first staff report could be prepared within two years, followed by similar reports every five years thereafter. The September 2015 Management Implementation Plan set out the actions management would take to follow-up on the Board-endorsed recommendation. The IEO’s 2014 evaluation of Recurring Issues from a Decade of Evaluation: Lessons for the IMF identified five recurring issues: a) Executive Board guidance and oversight; b) Organizational silos; c) Attention to risks and uncertainty; d) Country and institutional context; and e) Evenhandedness. This high-level report provides a broad account of actions taken to address these recurring issues since the publication of the 2014 IEO report; it is not intended as an exhaustive account of initiatives undertaken. Takeaways. The report concludes that the Fund has made progress in addressing the recurring issues identified by the IEO, and acknowledges the need for taking actions on an ongoing basis to achieve the related objectives. The discussion of the Management Implementation Plan (MIP) left open the question of whether subsequent reports should be prepared, perhaps every five years. The Evaluation Committee concluded that the forthcoming external evaluation of the IEO could look at the monitoring mechanisms more holistically, to provide further input into considering whether or not to continue the preparation every five years of this high-level report.
Ms. Stefania Fabrizio, Davide Furceri, Mr. Rodrigo Garcia-Verdu, Ms. Grace B Li, Mrs. Sandra V Lizarazo Ruiz, Ms. Marina Mendes Tavares, Mr. Futoshi Narita, and Adrian Peralta
Despite sustained economic growth and rapid poverty reductions, income inequality remains stubbornly high in many low-income developing countries. This pattern is a concern as high levels of inequality can impair the sustainability of growth and macroeconomic stability, thereby also limiting countries’ ability to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. This underscores the importance of understanding how policies aimed at boosting economic growth affect income inequality. Using empirical and modeling techniques, the note confirms that macro-structural policies aimed at raising growth payoffs in low-income developing countries can have important distributional consequences, with the impact dependent on both the design of reforms and on country-specific economic characteristics. While there is no one-size-fits-all recipe, the note explores how governments can address adverse distributional consequences of reforms by designing reform packages to make pro-growth policies also more inclusive.