Building on initial discussions of the proposed framework in February/March 2004, and further considerations in September 2004, this paper responds to remaining concerns that need to be resolved to make the framework operational. These concerns relate to the indicative debt-burden thresholds (Section II); the interaction of the framework with the HIPC Initiative (Section III); and the modalities for Bank-Fund collaboration in deriving a common assessment of sustainability (Section IV). This note should be read in conjunction with the original proposal, which presented the wider issues on the use of the indicative thresholds, the evaluation of policies and institutions, and the need for discretion when assessing sustainability on a forward-looking basis.
This chapter discusses the changes that have taken place in the underlying structural relationships determining government expenditures between 1975 and 1986. The paper describes the methodological problems in analyzing the determinants of government expenditure patterns, and the issues involved in making cross-country expenditure comparisons, and the problems confronting country economists in assessing a country's expenditure profile. The Tait-Heller study concluded that the international expenditure comparison (IEC) framework provided a “starting point” for analysis. In many respects, this conclusion would still appear valid; if anything, the issues associated with using the IEC indices have become more rather than less complex. Data limitations also pose a limiting factor on the usefulness of an analysis of the IEC indices of a country, and even more strongly suggest its use only as complementary to more detailed sectoral and economic analyses of expenditure profiles. The results for the developing countries in the European region are almost identical to those observed in Africa, with the key exception being an increased priority for expenditure on social security and welfare and a decline in the priority attached to education.