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Sebastian Beer and Ruud A. de Mooij
This paper develops a simple model to explore whether a higher detection probability for offshore tax evaders—e.g. because of improved exchange of information between countries and/or due to digitalization of tax administrations—renders it optimal for governments to introduce a voluntary disclosure program (VDP) and, if so, under what terms. We find that if the VDP is unanticipated, it is likely to be optimal for a revenue-maximizing government to introduce a VDP with relatively generous terms, i.e. a low or even negative penalty. When anticipated, however, the VDP is neither incentive compatible nor optimal, as it induces otherwise compliant taxpayers to evade tax. A VDP can then only be beneficial if tax evasion induces an external social cost beyond the direct revenue foregone, e.g., due to adverse effects on overall tax morale. In contrast to the common view that VDPs should come along with additional enforcement effort, we find that governments should relax enforcement if the VDP itself provides more powerful incentives to come clean.
Giulio Lisi
The paper documents the benefits provided by IMF’s precautionary instruments (FCL and PLL) to countries in accessing international financial markets. It builds on multiple methods to show that the announcement of new FCL or PLL generally leads to a significant decline in sovereign spreads. Next, it evaluates the role of the FCL and PLL in mitigating external financial pressures, focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic as a case study. Economies which had a PLL or FCL arrangement in place during the pandemic experienced a lower increase in spreads relative to other emerging markets, even after controlling for country-specific effects and other covariates, suggesting that these arrangements help cushion external shocks. Finally, the study asks whether FCL/PLL drawdowns have an impact on financial perceptions; the analysis finds—albeit on the basis of a very small sample— no evidence of downside effects from countries drawing down on these arrangements .
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Despite continuing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic and new risks emanating from global uncertainties, a combination of sound policy measures and a resolute vaccination program have supported a gradual return to normality and underpin a rebound in economic activities. External imbalances remain contained, and fiscal consolidation is underway as the authorities are adhering to the fiscal rule, which ensures a declining path for the public debt to GDP ratio. While the outlook is favorable, it remains subject to elevated risks, including global uncertainties arising from the war in Ukraine, faster-than-expected US monetary tightening, tighter global financial conditions, higher crude oil prices, and new variants of the COVID-19 virus that may derail the recovery. Domestic risks include significant delays in implementing the FATF action plan to exit the grey list.