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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper highlights that agreement on an important package of reforms of vital significance to the future of the international monetary system was reached at a meeting of the Interim Committee of the Board of Governors of the IMF on the International Monetary System in Kingston, Jamaica, on January 7–8, 1976. The reforms include a substantial quota increase for almost all members, as well as an increase in access to the IMF’s resources for all member countries in the period prior to implementation of the increase in their IMF quotas, and some other amendments.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper examines some dimensions of the problem of income inequality. The conventional approach to income inequality is to define the problem in purely relative terms. A familiar technique for this purpose is to measure inequality by the extent to which the income share of groups of individuals or households differs from their population share. The paper examines the problem in terms of income shares of the lowest 40 percent, the middle 40 percent, and the top 20 percent of households ordinally ranked by income.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper focuses on the subject of development and income distribution, and suggests a method whereby economic development can be skewed in favor of the poor. The paper underscores that improvements in the distribution of income can be achieved by applying shadow cost significantly below money cost to determine the social cost of employing members of low-income groups and to use the social consolidation strategy in the choice of technology in the physical construction of projects. The application of this method would result in the more extensive use of labor instead of capital equipment.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper highlights that the financial activity of the IMF reached a new peak in the first three quarters of 1981 in terms of the number of arrangements with members involving high conditionality on the use of the IMF’s resources, the total amount of resources committed under existing arrangements, and the magnitude of actual purchases. There were 25 stand-by arrangements in effect at the end of September 1981, as well as 16 extended arrangements. The total amount of resources made available to member countries in the first nine months of 1981 was SDR 9.3 billion.

Mr. Paul Collier

Africa's Middle-Class Motor finds growing evidence that a recent resurgence in the continent's economic well-being has staying power. In his overview article, Harvard professor Calestous Juma says the emphasis for too long has been on eradicating poverty through aid rather than promoting prosperity through improved infrastructure, education, entrepreneurship, and trade. That is now changing: there is a growing emphasis on policies that produce a middle class. The new African middle class may not have the buying power of a Western middle class but it demands enough goods and services to support stronger economic growth, which, as IMF African Department head Antoinette Sayeh points out, in turn helps the poorest members of society. Oxford University economist Paul Collier discusses a crucial component of Africa's needed infrastructure: railways. It is a continent eminently suited to rail, development of which has been held back more by political than economic reasons. But even as sub-Saharan African thrives, its largest and most important economy, South Africa, has had an anemic performance in recent years. We also profile Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's colorful economic czar. "Picture This" mines current trends to predict what Africa will look like a half century from now and "Data Spotlight" looks at increased regional trade in Africa. Elsewhere, Cornell Professor Eswar Prasad, examines a global role reversal in which emerging, not advanced, economies are displaying resilience in the face of the global economic crisis. The University of Queensland's John Quiggin, who wrote Zombie Economics, examines whether it makes sense in many cases to sell public enterprises. Economists Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago and Rodney Ramcharan of the U.S. Federal Reserve find clues to current asset booms and busts in the behavior of U.S. farmland prices a century ago.