Political Science

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International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept., International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, &, and Review Department
This Supplement presents an account of the extensive consultations and the results of various analyses that supported the development of “A Strategy for IMF Engagement on Social Spending.”
International Monetary Fund
The Fund provides considerable support to low-income countries (LICs). This includes concessional financing from the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT), which currently carries an interest rate of zero percent. Since 2010, over half of Fund-supported arrangements have involved a PRGT facility. Support for poverty reduction is a core objective of arrangements supported by these facilities. This paper examines how PRGT-supported programs safeguard spending on poor and vulnerable groups within the broader framework of promoting inclusive growth. In some cases, national poverty reduction programs seek to shift expenditures toward social programs in the context of generally higher spending supported by domestic revenue mobilization, grants, or debt financing. In other cases, the goal is to safeguard poor and vulnerable groups from fiscal adjustment and reform measures that could adversely affect them by adopting countervailing policy measures to strengthen social safety nets. In discussing social safeguards, this paper focuses on how and if these objectives are reflected satisfactorily in the design of PRGT and PSI-supported programs. The effectiveness of social spending in improving social outcomes, including by durably reducing poverty, is beyond the scope of the paper.
Boriana Yontcheva and Mrs. Nadia Masud
This paper assesses the effectiveness of foreign aid in reducing poverty through its impact on human development indicators. We use a dataset of both bilateral aid and NGO aid flows. Our results show that NGO aid reduces infant mortality and does so more effectively than official bilateral aid. The impact on illiteracy is less significant. We also test whether foreign aid reduces government efforts in achieving developmental goals and find mixed evidence of a substitution effect.
Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Ms. Gabriela Inchauste, Ms. Nita Thacker, Mr. Thomas William Dorsey, Mr. Shamsuddin Tareq, Mr. Emanuele Baldacci, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, and Mr. Mark W. Plant

Abstract

In late 1999 the IMF established the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) to integrate the objectives of poverty reduction and growth more fully into its operations for the poorest countries, and to base these operations on national poverty reduction strategies prepared by the country with broad participation of key stakeholders. A review of the program would be conducted two years later. This paper synthesizes two papers prepared by IMF staff: Review of the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility: Issues and Options, and Review of the Key Features of the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility: Staff Analyses. The paper draws on a broad range of internal and external views gathered between July 2001 and February 2002, including discussions at regional forums, meetings with donor government officials and representatives of civil society organizations, and comments of key officials in member countries with PRGF arrangements.

Mrs. Ritha S. Khemani, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Calvin A McDonald, Mr. Louis Dicks-Mireaux, and Marijn Verhoeven

Abstract

As part of its mandate, the IMF seeks to create the conditions necessary for sustained high-quality growth, which encompasses a broad range of elements. These include sound macroeconomic policies, growth-enhancing structural reforms, good governance, and such social policies as cost-effective social safety nets and targeted social expenditures. This paper reviews the IMF's policy advice in two key areas of social policy: social safety nets and public spending on education and health care. It was initiated as part of the work by the World Bank and IMF to strengthen the poverty focus of adjustment programs in low-income countries, in particular within the framework of the Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs).

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
The Web edition of the IMF Survey is updated several times a week, and contains a wealth of articles about topical policy and economic issues in the news. Access the latest IMF research, read interviews, and listen to podcasts given by top IMF economists on important issues in the global economy. www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/home.aspx