Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Yan Ji, Robert M. Townsend, and Ms. Filiz D Unsal
We develop a micro-founded general equilibrium model with heterogeneous agents to identify pertinent constraints to financial inclusion. We evaluate quantitatively the policy impacts of relaxing each of these constraints separately, and in combination, on GDP and inequality. We focus on three dimensions of financial inclusion: access (determined by the size of participation costs), depth (determined by the size of collateral constraints resulting from limited commitment), and intermediation efficiency (determined by the size of interest rate spreads and default possibilities due to costly monitoring). We take the model to a firm-level data from the World Bank Enterprise Survey for six countries at varying degrees of economic development—three low-income countries (Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique), and three emerging market countries (Malaysia, the Philippines, and Egypt). The results suggest that alleviating different financial frictions have a differential impact across countries, with country-specific characteristics playing a central role in determining the linkages and tradeoffs between inclusion, GDP, inequality, and the distribution of gains and losses.
Energy subsidies have wide-ranging economic consequences. While aimed at protecting consumers, subsidies aggravate fiscal imbalances, crowd-out priority public spending, and depress private investment, including in the energy sector. Subsidies also distort resource allocation by encouraging excessive energy consumption, artificially promoting capital-intensive industries, reducing incentives for investment in renewable energy, and accelerating the depletion of natural resources. Most subsidy benefits are captured by higher-income households, reinforcing inequality. Even future generations are affected through the damaging effects of increased energy consumption on global warming. This paper provides: (i) the most comprehensive estimates of energy subsidies currently available for 176 countries; and (ii) an analysis of ?how to do energy subsidy reform, drawing on insights from 22 country case studies undertaken by IMF staff and analyses carried out by other institutions.
This supplement presents ten case studies, which highlight the roles of targeted policies to facilitate sustainable financial deepening in a variety of country circumstances, reflecting historical experiences that parallel a range of markets in LICs. The case studies were selected to broadly capture efforts by countries to increase reach (e.g., financial inclusion), depth (e.g., financial intermediation), and breadth of financial systems (e.g., capital market, cross-border development). The analysis in the case studies highlights the importance of a balanced approach to financial deepening. A stable macroeconomic environment is vital to instill consumer, institutional, and investor confidence necessary to encourage financial market activity. Targeted public policy initiatives (e.g., collateral, payment systems development) can be helpful in removing impediments and creating infrastructure for improved market operations, while ensuring appropriate oversight and regulation of financial markets, to address potential sources of instability and market failures.
Sub-Saharan Africa needs much faster economic growth and more effective economic, financial, and social policies if it is to make up for lost ground and reduce the number of people living in abject poverty. Edited by Laura Wallace, this volume presents the proceedings of a May 1998 seminar in Paris, organized jointly by the IMF and the Japanese Ministry of Finance, on ways to accelerate Africa's growth in our increasingly globalized world. Senior African and Asian government officials, representatives from multicultural institutions, donors, academics, and private sector participants gathered to discuss how to improve the private investment environment in African countries and take advantage of globalization's benefits while minimizing its risks, and how to strengthen the contribution of government in areas of capacity building, good governance, effective public resource management, and improved quality and composition of government spending.