International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept. and International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is increasingly involved in offering policy advice on public pension issues to member countries. Public pension spending is important from both fiscal and welfare perspectives. Pension policy and its reforms can have significant fiscal and distribution implications, can influence labor supply and labor demand decisions, and may impact consumption and savings behavior. This technical note provides guidance on assessing public pension systems’ macrocriticality, i.e., sustainability, adequacy, and efficiency; it also discusses the issues and policy trade-offs to be considered when designing responses aiming to address these dimensions of the pension system. The paper emphasizes the importance of taking a long-term, comprehensive perspective when evaluating public pension spending and providing policy advice. Where feasible, reforms should be gradual and transparent to allow individuals ample time to adjust their work and savings decisions and to facilitate consumption smoothing over their lifecycle to avoid poverty in old age. It is also important to ensure that pension systems’ design and reforms do not lead to undesirable impacts in other policy areas including general tax compliance, health insurance coverage, labor force participation among older workers, or labor market informality. The paper emphasizes the importance country-specific social and economic objectives and constraints, as well as political economy realities – factors that can determine whether a pension reform is a success or failure.
This Selected Issues paper on Serbia’s Article IV Consultation reviews the precrisis growth paradigm and its legacy vulnerabilities. The underlying growth model proved vulnerable to shocks, being associated with a high share of nontradable, low domestic savings, and a fragile external position. Convergence to EU income levels was relatively moderate. Economic growth fell following the onset of the global financial crisis and further slowed the pace of convergence. Serbia’s postcrisis income gap remains larger by comparison to more advanced regional economies. Structural bottlenecks continue to undermine overall competitiveness and constrain growth potential.
Threats to external stability in the pre-crisis period have now been reduced substantially and foreign non-debt creating flows have declined, sufficient to support external stability. The global economic downturn has raised challenges for evaluating the countries’ fiscal stance and fiscal policy focus should be lowering support to debt sustainability, private sector development, and the currency board stability. The two entity pension funds have been under increasing financial pressures. Putting the public pension systems on a sound footing will encompass a number of complementary steps.
We analyze the effect of IMF programs on economic agents' expectations about the economy in transitional countries using survey data from the Central and Eastern Eurobarometer poll, an annual general public survey monitoring the evolution of public opinion from 1990 to 1997. Previous studies, in contrast, have looked at indirect measures, such as capital flows or yield spreads, to assess the impact of IMF programs on economic expectations. Using a multinomial probit model, we find that IMF loans appear to have a strong effect on agent expectations in the early years, through the inflow of real money, and through the signaling effect. IMF programs during periods of collapsing growth appear to reinforce underlying expectations for the future; they are associated with positive expectations for those with an optimistic outlook and negative expectations for those with a negative outlook. Once recovery is underway, and economic uncertainty diminishes, it appears that IMF programs cease to have a statistically significant effect on the expectations of economic agents. This suggests that IMF programs have the biggest impact on expectations during periods of great uncertainty and less of an impact when countries are subject to minor shocks.
This Selected Issues paper discusses Romania’s modeling monetary policy. A simple Forecasting and Policy Analysis System (FPAS) for Romania has been designed to help in the preparation of the IMF staff’s forecasts and policy assessments. A major advantage of this approach is that it allows the systematic and rapid analysis of different policy options. The model embodies the key principle that, in an inflation-targeting framework, the role of monetary policy is to provide an anchor for inflation and inflation expectations. The development and calibration of this model is an ongoing process.
This paper focuses on Serbia and Montenegro’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). Through the process of developing the Poverty Reduction Strategy, national indicators in line with the Millennium Development Goals have been identified. The poverty reduction strategy for the Union focuses on establishing conditions for dynamic and equitable economic growth, through the creation of a stable macroeconomic environment and favorable investment climate to create employment, reduce economic vulnerability, and establish key programs to directly promote employment among the poor.
In this paper we consider a model of the country with heterogeneous population and examine compensation schemes that may prevent a threat of secession by dissatisfied regions. We show that horizontal imbalances are combatable with secession-proof compensation schemes that entail a degree of partial equalization: the disadvantageous regions should be subsidized but the burden on advantageous regions should not be too excessive. In the case of uniform distribution, we establish the 50-percent compensation rule for disadvantageous regions. Thus, we argue for a limited gap reduction between advantageous and disadvantageous regions and show that neither laissez faire nor Rawlsian allocation is secession-proof.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper focuses on telecommunication development in Ethiopia. The paper highlights that there are now over 20,000 telephones in Addis Ababa (in 1969), but the demand for service still exceeds the supply. About 800 installation requests are received each quarter; of these, 600 can be fulfilled. Ethiopia’s annual telephone growth rate has averaged 17 percent over the past six years. Though long-distance lines have been expanded by 125 percent since the early 1950s, the interurban network between Addis Ababa and the rest of the country is seriously overloaded.