Two years ago, citizens in the Arab world—fired by their ideals and visions of a better life—ignited a social movement that inspired people around the globe. In Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and Yemen—the so-called Arab countries in transition—people embraced change, ushering in a new era. This issue of F&D looks at the difficulties of this transition, focusing on long-standing forces that shape the region’s economy and offering options for moving ahead to achieve strong, inclusive growth. • Masood Ahmed, Director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, maps out an agenda for modernizing and diversifying the region’s economies in “Toward Prosperity for All.” • In “Freedom and Bread Go Together,” Marwan Muasher addresses the intersection of economic progress and political change. • Vali Nasr, in a Point of View column, underscores the vital role small and medium-sized enterprises play in a successful democratic transition. Elsewhere in this issue, we look at how surging oil and gas production in the United States could shake up global energy markets; the effect of uncertainty on economic growth; and Mexico’s competitiveness rebound. F&D's People in Economics series profiles Christina Romer, former chair of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers and an architect of the U.S. stimulus package; and the latest installment in our Back to Basics series explains how structural policies help to both stabilize and strengthen economies.
The paper outlines a general framework for statistical legislation. The implications of statistical legislation for the whole statistical system, as well as for centralized versus decentralized statistical systems, are addressed. The general framework is spelled out by identifying "essential" components of statistical legislation. The paper illustrates how these components can be applied to different country situations, and it draws attention to a number of additional topics for discussion and areas for future study in statistical legislation. It also brings together summary descriptions of the statistical legislation of a large number of countries that underlie the derivation of the essential components. It thus provides a reference for countries considering new or revised statistical legislation.
How does economic activity proceed in the absence A. A. of formal legal systems? What alternative rules and institutions evolve? Princeton economics professor Avinash Dixit’s April 7 IMF Institute seminar, “Lawlessness and Economics,” addressed the theory of alternative modes of governance using economic models. He drew on the works of prominent thinkers in new institutional economics and the social sciences, using case studies to show different institutional responses to legal failures.
The framework guiding the IMF’s communications—established by the Executive Board in 2007—has enabled the institution to respond flexibly to the changing global context. The framework is based on four guiding principles: (i) deepening understanding and support for the Fund’s role and policies; (ii) better integrating communications into the IMF’s daily operations; (iii) raising the impact of new communications materials and technologies; and (iv) rebalancing outreach efforts to take account of different audiences. In addition, greater emphasis has been placed on strengthening internal communications to help ensure institutional coherence in the Fund’s outreach activities.
Continued efforts are needed to strengthen communications going forward. Several issues deserve particular attention. First, taking further steps to ensure clarity and consistency in communication in a world where demand for Fund services continues to rise. Second, doing more to assess the impact of IMF communications and thus better inform efforts going forward. Third, engaging strategically and prudently with new media—including social media.