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  • Consumption; Economics x
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Mr. Ricardo Fenochietto and Juan Carlos Benitez
This paper analyses and compares two different groups of tools, the first to encourage the use of invoices (or payment systems) and the second to refund the VAT to low-income individuals. The analysis contributes to the existing literature by providing a clear characterization between these two groups of tools that are too often misunderstood and offers clear guidance to policymakers on the benefits and pitfalls of them based on available empirical studies and novel data analysis. Briefly, the first group includes a set of regressive and distortive tools (such as, allowing deducting the VAT paid on personal consumption from the PIT and reducing the VAT rate for using electronic means of payments or registration), while the second group includes tools that are less distortionary and improve income distribution (tax credits and VAT rate reduction targeted only at low-income individuals). This paper also finds that allowing the deduction of personal consumption against the PIT’s taxable base (i) did not impact positively the VAT revenue in Guatemala and (ii) worsens the income distribution in Ecuador.
Mr. Jean Imbs and Mr. Paolo Mauro
In this paper, we identify the groups of countries where international risk-sharing opportunities are most attractive. We show that the bulk of risk-sharing gains can be achieved in groups consisting of as few as seven members, and that further marginal benefits quickly become negligible. For many such small groups, the welfare gains associated with risk sharing can amount to one order of magnitude larger than Lucas's classic calibration suggested for the United States, under similar assumptions on utility. Why do we not observe more arrangements of this type? Large welfare gains can only be achieved within groups where contracts are probably seen as relatively difficult to enforce. International diversification can thus yield substantial gains, but these may remain untapped owing to potential partners' weak institutional quality and a history of default on international obligations. Noting that existing risk sharing arrangements often have a regional dimension, we speculate that shared economic interests such as common trade may help sustain such arrangements, though risk-sharing gains are smaller when membership is constrained on a regional basis.
Mr. Juan P Cordoba, Mr. Robert Gillingham, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Ali M. Mansoor, Mr. Christian Schiller, and Marijn Verhoeven


This text provides guidance to policymakers on how to design and implement sound price-subsidy reforms. It draws on the experience of price-subsidy reform in 28 countries. The authors discuss economic and political considerations and make several recommendations concerning the speed of reform and social protection mechanisms. They discuss how the social impact of reform can be limited by establishing cost-effective and well-targeted temporary social protection mechanisms, and how governments can reduce the risk of political disruption by distributing the initial burden of reform fairly and by clearly explaining the costs and benefits to the public.