The COVID-19 pandemic has caused dramatic loss of human life and major damage to the European economy, but thanks to an exceptionally strong policy response, potentially devastating outcomes have been avoided.
Mr. Ruben V Atoyan, Ms. Dora Benedek, Ezequiel Cabezon, Mr. Giuseppe Cipollone, Mr. Jacques A Miniane, Ms. Nhu Nguyen, Mr. Martin Petri, Mr. Jens Reinke, and Mr. James Roaf
An assessment of public infrastructure development in the Western Balkans. The paper quantifies the large gaps across various sectors/dimensions, evaluates current infrastructure plans, and discusses funding options available to countries in the region. The paper also identifies important bottlenecks for increased infrastructure investment. Finally, the paper quantifies potential growth benefits from addressing infrastructure gaps, concluding that boosting the quantity and quality of infrastructure is vital for raising economic growth and accelerating income convergence with the EU. The paper concludes with country-specific policy recommendations.
This Selected Issues paper on Kosovo discusses various challenges and opportunities in the public infrastructure domain. Given the very low initial stocks, largely due to the sharp depletion of capital stock during the conflicts in the 1990s, higher investment rates are needed. The resources available from international development partners, including the European Union (EU), the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, are a unique opportunity to leverage and accelerate the implementation of priority projects. Strengthening Kosovo’s investment framework is key to achieving this objective. Kosovo faces significant public infrastructure gaps, which constrain private sector development. Scaling-up public investment will raise gross domestic product growth potential and accelerate income convergence toward the EU average level. The priority project list has helped the authorities to prioritize plans and facilitate the discussions and negotiations with donors and International Financial Institutions (IFI). However, implementation so far has been modest, despite the new investment clause of the fiscal rule exempting IFI-financed projects from the deficit ceiling.
This Selected Issues paper quantifies the short- and medium-term growth effects of major ongoing highway and railway projects in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. A standard neoclassical growth model is augmented with public capital to capture both demand and supply-side effects of public infrastructure investments. The calibrated model suggests that the four ongoing highway and railway investments of 2–3 percent of GDP annually for 2014–18 are likely to raise the growth rate of real GDP by 0.5 percentage points on average for each year in 2014–20. Enhancing public investment efficiency can increase growth effects up to 0.8 percentage points.
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.