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Rasmané Ouedraogo and Mr. David Stenzel
The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns have led to a rise in gender-based violence. In this paper, we explore the economic consequences of violence against women in sub-Saharan Africa using large demographic and health survey data collected pre-pandemic. Relying on a two-stage least square method to address endogeneity, we find that an increase in the share of women subject to violence by 1 percentage point can reduce economic activities (as proxied by nightlights) by up to 8 percent. This economic cost results from a significant drop in female employment. Our results also show that violence against women is more detrimental to economic development in countries without protective laws against domestic violence, in natural resource rich countries, in countries where women are deprived of decision-making power and during economic downturns. Beyond the moral imperative, the findings highlight the importance of combating violence against women from an economic standpoint, particularly by reinforcing laws against domestic violence and strengthening women’s decision-making power.
Charles Vellutini and Juan Carlos Benitez
This paper presents a novel technique to measure and compare the redistributive capacity of observed tax (or transfer) policies. The technique is based on income distribution simulations and controls for differences in pre-tax income distributions. It assumes that the only information on the pre-tax distribution available in each country-year is the Gini coefficient and the mean (GDP per capita). We illustrate the technique with an application to the personal income tax, using a dataset of 108 countries over the 2007-2018 period.
Mr. Francesco Grigoli and Adrian Robles
The linearity of the relationship between income inequality and economic development has been long questioned. While theory provides arguments for which the shape of relationship may be positive for low levels of inequality and negative for high ones, most of the empirical literature assumes a linear specification finding conflicting results. Employing an innovative empirical approach robust to endogeneity, we find pervasive evidence of nonlinearities. In particular, similar to the debt overhang literature, we identify an inequality overhang level in that the slope of the relationship between income inequality and economic development switches from positive to negative at a net Gini of about 27 percent. We also find that in an environment characterized by widespread financial inclusion and high income concentration, rising income inequality has a larger negative impact on economic development because banks may curtail credit to customers at the lower end of the income distribution. On the positive side, a sufficiently high female labor participation can act as a shock absorber reducing such negative impact, possibly through a more efficient allocation of resources.
Anne Oeking and Mariusz A. Sumlinski
In this paper, we consider incidences of arrears to the IMF, focusing on protracted arrears cases and attempt to identify determinants of their occurrence. We use narrative and formal methods. In addition, we analyze determinants of the duration of arrears. We find that previous arrears, reserves coverage, and institutional quality are among the main determinants of arrears. In addition, we identify a role for political developments, including civil unrest, which make arrears more likely to arise and to last longer. We conclude that improved macroeconomic conditions and turnaround of political fortunes would help to clear the currently remaining protracted arrears cases.
Ms. Sandra Marcelino and Ms. Ivetta Hakobyan
In 1996, the IMF and the World Bank introduced the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative—a comprehensive debt relief program aimed at reducing the external debt burden of eligible countries to sustainable levels, provided they carry out strong programs of macroeconomic adjustment and structural reforms designed to promote growth and reduce poverty. Now that the HIPC Initiative is nearly completed, this paper investigates whether the initiative managed to spur growth, either directly or indirectly through investment. In contrast to earlier studies, we conclude that there is some evidence of positive effects of the HIPC Initiative on growth. Such evidence suggests that the HIPC Initiative and MDRI have helped HIPC-eligible countries to reach higher growth, but it remains unclear whether this is through higher investment or another channel. Also, the analysis illustrates that it is hard to disentangle pure debt-relief effects from other concurrent factors.
Mr. Manuk Ghazanchyan and Ms. Janet Gale Stotsky
This study examines the drivers of growth in Sub-Saharan African countries, using aggregate data, from the past decade. We correlate recent growth experience to key determinants of growth, including private and public investment, government consumption, the exchange regime and real exchange rate, and current account liberalization, using various econometric methodologies, including fixed and random effects models, with cluster-robust standard errors. We find that, depending on the specification, higher private and public investments boost growth. Some evidence is found that government consumption exerts a drag on growth and that more flexible exchange regimes are beneficial to growth. The real exchange rate and liberalization variables are not significant.
Mr. Marc G Quintyn and Sophia Gollwitzer
This paper tests the theoretical framework developed by North, Wallis and Weingast (2009) on the transition from closed to open access societies. They posit that societies need to go through three doorsteps: (i) the establishment of rule of law among elites; (ii) the adoption of perpetually existing organizations; and (iii) the political control of the military. We identify indicators reflecting these doorsteps and graphically test the correlation between them and a set of political and economic variables. Finally, through Identification through Heteroskedasticity we test these relationships econometrically. The paper broadly confirms the logic behind the doorsteps as necessary steps in the transition to open access societies. The doorsteps influence economic and political processes, as well as each other, with varying intensity. We also identify income inequality as a potentially important force leading to social change.