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Dong Frank Wu and Mr. Friedrich Schneider
This paper is the first attempt to directly explore the long-run nonlinear relationship between the shadow economy and level of development. Using a dataset of 158 countries over the period from 1996 to 2015, our results reveal a robust U-shaped relationship between the shadow economy size and GDP per capita. Our results imply that the shadow economy tends to increase when economic development surpasses a given threshold or at least does not disappear. Our findings suggest that special attention should be given to the country’s level of development when designing policies to tackle issues related to the shadow economy.
Miss Rita Mesias

Abstract

This Coordinated Direct Investment Survey Guide (Guide) has been prepared to assist economies in participating in the Coordinated Direct Investment Survey (CDIS). The CDIS is being conducted under the auspices of the Statistics Department of the IMF across a wide range of economies. The survey is conducted simultaneously by all participating economies; uses consistent definitions; and encourages best practices in collecting, compiling, and disseminating data on direct investment positions. The CDIS is thus an important tool in capturing world totals and the geographic distribution of direct investment positions, thereby contributing to important new understandings of the extent of globalization, and improving the overall quality of direct investment data worldwide. As of the writing of this updated Guide, more than 100 economies participate in the CDIS.

Mr. Amine Mati

Two years ago, citizens in the Arab world—fired by their ideals and visions of a better life—ignited a social movement that inspired people around the globe. In Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and Yemen—the so-called Arab countries in transition—people embraced change, ushering in a new era. This issue of F&D looks at the difficulties of this transition, focusing on long-standing forces that shape the region’s economy and offering options for moving ahead to achieve strong, inclusive growth. • Masood Ahmed, Director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, maps out an agenda for modernizing and diversifying the region’s economies in “Toward Prosperity for All.” • In “Freedom and Bread Go Together,” Marwan Muasher addresses the intersection of economic progress and political change. • Vali Nasr, in a Point of View column, underscores the vital role small and medium-sized enterprises play in a successful democratic transition. Elsewhere in this issue, we look at how surging oil and gas production in the United States could shake up global energy markets; the effect of uncertainty on economic growth; and Mexico’s competitiveness rebound. F&D's People in Economics series profiles Christina Romer, former chair of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers and an architect of the U.S. stimulus package; and the latest installment in our Back to Basics series explains how structural policies help to both stabilize and strengthen economies.

International Monetary Fund
In the aftermath of the revolution of 2011, Libya faces the complex task of rebuilding its economy, infrastructure, and institutions, and responding to the demands of the population, especially for improved governance. The conflict that accompanied the revolution had a severe impact on the economy, and international financial institutions have responded to the request of the Libyan authorities to provide policy consultations and technical assistantce to help maintain macroeconomic stability. Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) has taken steps to promote a peaceful political transition, normalize economic conditions, and set out a national reform agenda. In the short term, the authorities must restore security, bring hydrocarbon production fully online, exercise fiscal discipline, resuscitate the banking system, and maintain macroeconomic stability. Medium-term efforts should focus on capacity building, infrastructure renewal, private-sector development, improving education, job creation, and putting in place an effective social safety net, within a framework of transparent and accountable governance. This paper discusses the risks to economic recovery and measures to promote economic diversification and employment growth.
Ms. Nicole Laframboise and Tea Trumbic
Statistics indicate that the economic and social development of women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) compares unfavorably with most regions in the world. This paper assesses the influence of government expenditure and taxation policies on the economic and social welfare of women in the region. On the expenditure side, we test the explanatory power of public social spending in the determination of key female social indicators. We find that the relatively weak social outcomes for MENA women are not explained by the amount of government social spending, suggesting the answer lies in the efficiency and reach of present spending. With respect to taxation, the main issues in the literature on gender bias in taxation are highlighted and applied in a general manner to the MENA context. Some simple policy recommendations are suggested.
International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This paper discusses several IMF’s selected decisions of the Executive Board and selected documents. The procedures set forth in Section IV of SM/77/277 are approved, and members shall be guided by the considerations in Section IV with respect to the prompt notification of any changes in their exchange arrangements. Once the procedures for initial notification have been clarified, only a few issues remain to be dealt with in respect of subsequent notifications. One of these is the question of what would constitute a change in an exchange arrangement requiring notification. Upon receipt of notification of a change in exchange arrangements from a member the IMF staff would circulate it to the Executive Board. If the Board wishes, it could continue to be the normal practice that whenever a change is significant, its communication to the Board would be followed promptly by a staff paper describing the context of the change in policy and giving the IMF staff's assessment.

Jahangir Amuzegar

Abstract

Not unpredictably, there is a complex energy bind as we approach the end of the twentieth century. The oil importing industrial countries have anchored their industries, their means of transportation, their home comfort- in short, their whole energy-dependent lifestyle-largely to hydrocarbon fuels.

Oli Havrylyshyn and Martin Wolf

The authors briefly review the economic rationale for policies to stimulate South-South trade, assess its validity in the light of an analysis of trade among developing countries over the period 1963–77, and review its prospects.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Global and national adjustment to promote sustainable growth in a changing world economy are the main topics of this year’s Report—the fourth in a series for the World Bank.

David Morgan

Since 1972 the major oil exporting countries have absorbed an unprecedented volume of resources. Initially, high government expenditures occurred, accompanied by accelerating expansion of domestic liquidity and inflation. Conditions eased after 1975, as domestic spending slowed and supply bottlenecks lessened. This article discusses the role and effectiveness of fiscal policy, particularly in the successful efforts to stabilize the domestic economy. The conditions for effective fiscal policy in oil exporting countries are not directly affected by the revenue effects of the latest round of oil price rises.