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.
Following the request of the IMFC, this paper represents a first step in reassessing the Fund’s approach to tackling governance issues, the guidelines for which are contained in a 1997 Guidance Note. The paper examines the record of implementation of these guidelines in the period since the last such review was conducted in 2004, focusing on the handling of issues relating to corruption.
Olivier Basdevant, Mr. Andrew W Jonelis, Miss Borislava Mircheva, and Mr. Slavi T Slavov
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the economies of South Africa and its neighbors (Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe) are tightly integrated with each other. There are important institutional linkages. Across the region there are also large flows of goods and capital, significant financial sector interconnections, as well as sizeable labor movements and associated remittance flows. These interconnections suggest that South Africa’s GDP growth rate should affect positively its neighbors’, a point we illustrate formally with the help of numerical simulations of the IMF’s GIMF model. However, our review and update of the available econometric evidence suggest that there is no strong evidence of real spillovers in the region after 1994, once global shocks are controlled for. More generally, we find no evidence of real spillovers from South Africa to the rest of the continent post-1994. We investigate the possible reasons for this lack of spillovers. Most importantly, the economies of South Africa and the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa might have de-coupled in the mid-1990s. That is when international sanctions on South Africa ended and the country re-integrated with the global economy, while growth in the rest of the continent accelerated due to a combination of domestic and external factors.
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.
This report aims to accomplish three objectives: (a) it provides an update on the status of implementation, impact, and costs of the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI); (b) it proposes a modification of the reporting of progress under the initiatives, including the discontinuation of the annual status of implementation reports, and the preparation of periodic reports on debt vulnerabilities in low income countries (LICs), including HIPCs; and (c) it proposes a further ring-fencing of the list of countries eligible or potentially eligible for debt relief under the HIPC Initiative based on end-2010 income and indebtedness criteria.
The Annual Report 2008 to the Board of Governors reviews the IMF's activities and policies during the financial year (May 1, 2007, through April 30, 2008). There are five chapters: (1) Overview: Refocusing the IMF; (2) Developments in the Global Economy and Financial Markets; (3) Fostering Macroeconomic and Financial Stability and Growth Through Surveillance; (4) Program Support and Capacity Building; and (5) Governance, Organization, and Finances. The full financial statements for the year, other appendixes, and materials supplementing the text are provided on a CD-ROM.
Selon ce rapport, les perspectives se sont quelque peu dégradées pour l'Afrique subsaharienne, et les risques ont augmenté. La croissance devrait diminuer dans la région, s'établissant à 6 % en 2008 et 2009. Cette dégradation tient principalement à l'envolée mondiale des prix des denrées alimentaires et des carburants, qui pèse fortement sur la croissance des pays importateurs de pétrole, ainsi qu'aux turbulences financières mondiales, qui ont freiné la croissance mondiale et la demande d'exportations en provenance de l'Afrique. L'inflation devrait atteindre 12 % en 2008, en raison principalement du choc sur les prix des denrées alimentaires et du pétrole. À cause de la hausse des prix, en particulier des prix alimentaires, il est fort possible que la pauvreté s'aggrave en 2008. En 2009, l'inflation devrait diminuer pour s'établir à 10 %, en raison de la baisse récente des prix des produits de base. Des risques considérables pèsent sur les perspectives, car les turbulences financières mondiales pourraient s'aggraver et se prolonger, entraînant un ralentissement accru de l'activité économique mondiale, et car les prix des produits de base restent entourés d'une grande incertitude.
Sub-Saharan Africa's prospects have deteriorated somewhat and the risks have increased, according to this report. Growth in the region is projected to dip to 6 percent in 2008 and 2009. The fall is due mainly to the global food and fuel price shock, which has weighed particularly on growth in oil-importing countries, and to the global financial market turmoil, which has slowed global growth and demand for Africa's exports. Inflation is expected to rise to 12 percent in 2008, mainly on account of the food and fuel price shock. As a result of rising prices, particularly of food, poverty may well be on the increase in 2008. In 2009, inflation should ease to 10 percent, helped by recent commodity price declines. There are significant risks to the outlook related to a potentially deeper and longer period of global financial turmoil and resulting slowdown in global activity, and substantial uncertainty concerning commodity prices.