In the context of continuing adjustments in the economy, the Government of Indonesia proposes to bring energy prices closer to long run marginal cost, while adequately compensating the poor. We focus on the constraints on central government policy objectives towards the poor as decentralization takes effect. However, local governments currently lack credible social protection instruments and their objectives usually do not match those of the center, which imposes constraints on program designs. We discuss the suitability of a number of safety net mechanisms in a decentralized context and draw policy implications.
Primary commodities still account for the bulk of exports in many developing countries. However, real commodity prices have been declining almost continuously since the early 1980s and there is evidence of renewed weakness. The appropriate policy response to a terms of trade shock depends importantly on whether the shock is perceived to be temporary or permanent. Our results indicate that the recent weakness in commodity prices is mostly of a secular nature, stressing the need for commodity exporting countries to concentrate on export diversification and other structural policies. There is, however, scope for stabilization funds and the use of hedging strategies since the evidence also suggests commodity prices have become more volatile.