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International Monetary Fund
Using Chilean data, we document that for resource-rich small open economies the effects of terms of trade shocks on the wage gap (between skilled and unskilled workers) depend on factor intensities in the non-tradable sector, following the model in Galiani, Heymann, and Magud (2010). For a skilled-intensive non-tradable sector we show that improvements in the terms of trade benefit skilled workers. We also show that this relation holds at the industry level: the wage gap widens in skilled-intensive sectors while it shrinks in unskilled-intensive ones, the more so as terms of trade volatility decreases.
Mario Mansour and Mr. Gregoire Rota Graziosi
We review the current state of the West African Economic and Monetary Union’s tax coordination framework, against the main objectives of the WAEMU Treaty of 1994: reduce distortions to intra-community trade, and mobilize domestic tax revenue. The process of tax coordination in WAEMU is one of the most advanced in the world—de jure at least—, but remains in many areas ineffective de facto. Nevertheless, the framework has, to some extent, succeeded in converging tax systems, particularly statutory tax rates, and may have contributed to improving revenue mobilisation. Important lessons can be drawn from the WAEMU experience, particularly in terms of whether coordination should take the form of harmonization through a top-down approach, or a softer approach of sharing best practice and limiting certain types of tax competition.
Ms. Heloisa Marone
This study analyzes Cabo Verde’s demographic transition from the perspective of gender equality. As the pace of the demographic transition slows, promoting gender equality and increasing women’s labor force participation will be progressively more important in enhancing otherwise slow-growth dynamics, reducing poverty, and improving the lives of all, women and men. The study investigates gender gaps in the labor market participation rate, employment conditions, and the use of time dedicated to unpaid work. It also discusses policy options to decrease the time women spend on unpaid work, enhance their employability, and enable them to secure employment. Overall, this study contributes to the debate on how better to manage the potential dividends resulting from demographic transitions on the still young but rapidly aging African continent.
Mr. Christian Mumssen, Yasemin Bal Gunduz, Mr. Christian H Ebeke, and Ms. Linda Kaltani
This paper studies the short and longer-term impact of IMF engagement in Low-Income Countries (LICs) over nearly three decades. In contrast to earlier studies, we focus on a sample composed exclusively of LICs and disentangle the different effects of IMF longer-term engagement and short-term financing using a propensity score matching approach to control for selection bias. Our results indicate that longer-term IMF support (at least five years of program engagement per decade) helped LICs sustain economic growth and boost resilience by building fiscal buffers. Interestingly, the size of IMF financing has no significant impact on economic growth, possibly pointing to the prominent role of IMF policy advice and institutional capacity building in the context of longer-term engagement. We also present evidence that the short-term IMF engagement through augmentations of existing programs or short-term and emergency facilities is positively associated with a wide range of macroeconomic outcomes. Notably, the IMF financial support has the greatest impact on short-term growth when LICs are faced with substantial macroeconomic imbalances or exogenous shocks.
Ms. Valerie Cerra and Martha Tesfaye Woldemichael
This paper investigates the determinants of sustained accelerations in goods and services exports. Strong predictors of export takeoffs include domestic and structural indicators such as lower macroeconomic uncertainty, improved quality of institutions, a depreciated exchange rate, and agricultural reforms. Lower tariffs, participation in global value chains and diversification also contribute to initiating export accelerations. The paper also finds heterogeneity, with somewhat different triggers for Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as for goods and services. Finally, despite the lack of a robust effect on output, export surges tend to be associated with lower post-acceleration unemployment and income inequality.
Mr. Dhaneshwar Ghura
An analysis of data for 39 sub-Saharan African countries during 1985–96 indicates that the variations in tax revenue-GDP ratios within this group are influenced by economic policies and the level of corruption. Namely, these ratios rise with declining inflation, implementation of structural reforms, rising human capital (a proxy for the provision of public services by the government), and declining corruption. The paper confirms that the tax revenue ratio rises with income, and that elements of a country’s tax base (such as the share of agriculture in GDP and the degree of openness) influence tax revenue.
Mr. Arvind Subramanian and Mr. Devesh Roy
This paper examines different explanations-initial conditions, openness to trade and FDI, and institutions-of the Mauritian growth experience since the mid-1970s. We show that arguments based on openness to trade and FDI are either misleading or incomplete, and the transmission mechanism insufficiently identified. However, even when correctly articulated, openness appears to be a proximate rather than an underlying explanation for the Mauritian experience. The institution-based explanation offers greater promise. Ultimately, however, the econometric results indicate that existing explanations may be incomplete. Some idiosyncratic factors, particularly Mauritian diversity and the responses to managing it, may provide the missing pieces in the story of Mauritius's success.