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Jeremy warford and Zeinab Partow

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

Mr. Manmohan S. Kumar and Kent Osband
Energy exports, which are already the primary source of Soviet convertible currency earnings and an important contributor to the budget, could bring in much more revenue if the Soviet Union were to reduce its extremely high levels of energy consumption. To encourage this process, energy prices need to be raised substantially. Under plausible assumptions, it is shown that an increase in prices could yield sizable foreign exchange earnings. Large increases in energy prices could, however, threaten the solvency of industrial enterprises, precipitate major economic and social dislocation, and severely strain interrepublican economic relationships.
Mr. Simon Black, Koralai Kirabaeva, Ian Parry, Mr. Mehdi Raissi, and Karlygash Zhunussova
This paper discusses a comprehensive strategy for implementing Mexico’s climate mitigation commitments. Progressively increasing carbon prices from current levels of US$3 per ton to US$75 per ton by 2030 would achieve Mexico’s mitigation pledges, while raising annual revenues of 1.8 percent of GDP and cumulatively averting 11,600 deaths from local air pollution. The carbon price would raise fossil fuel and electricity prices, imposing burdens of 2.7 percent of consumption on the average Mexican household. However, recycling carbon pricing revenues would offset most of this burden, and targeted transfers could make the reform pro-poor and pro-equity. Additionally, the economic efficiency costs of carbon pricing (0.3 percent of GDP in 2030) are more than offset by local air pollution and other domestic environmental benefits (before even counting climate benefits). Mexico would need a more ambitious 2030 target if it were to follow many other countries in adopting a midcentury ‘net-zero’ emissions target. To enhance the effectiveness of the mitigation strategy, carbon pricing can be reinforced with sectoral instruments, such as feebates in the transport, power, industry, building, forestry, extractive, and agricultural sectors. Complementary policies are also needed to support public investment in the clean energy transition.
Nicoletta Batini, Mr. Simon Black, Ms. Oana Luca, and Ian Parry
The Netherlands has ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for the future - to cut them by 49 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and 95 percent by 2050. These targets and the likely new EU-wide targets under the recent EU Green Deal entail a rapid acceleration in decarbonization. This paper discusses the government’s mitigation strategy and advances several recommendations to complement and reinforce that strategy and to achieve better alignement of the effective carbon prices across sectors. The paper discusses alternatives to make the recently-introduced industry carbon levy more effcient and recomends the use of revenue-neutral feebate schemes in industry, transportation, buildings, and agriculture. For power generation, it recommends eliminating taxes on residential and industrial electricity, supplementing the coal phaseout plan with an increase in the CO2 emissions floor price. The impacts of these reforms on consumption would be low and relatively evenly split across the income distribution.
Mr. Kangni R Kpodar and Mr. Chadi Abdallah
This paper assesses the dynamic pass-through of crude oil price shocks to retail fuel prices using a novel database on monthly retail fuel prices for 162 countries. The impulse response functions suggest that on average, a one cent increase in crude oil prices per liter translates into a 1.2 cent increase in the retail gasoline price at peak level six months after the shock. However, the estimates vary significantly across country groups, ranging from about 0.5 cent in MENA countries to two cents in advanced economies. The results also show that positive oil price shocks have a larger impact than negative price shocks on the retail gasoline price. Finally, the paper underscores the importance of the new dataset in refining estimates of the fiscal cost of incomplete pass-through.
Mr. Kangni R Kpodar and Patrick A. Imam
While many developing countries limit the international fuel price pass through to domestic fuel prices, others do not. Against this backdrop, we examine the factors that determine whether governments allow international fuel price changes to be passed through to domestic prices in developing countries using a dataset spanning 109 developing countries from 2000 to 2014. The paper finds that the pass-through is higher when changes in international prices are moderate and less volatile. In addition, the flexibility of the pricing mechanism allows for higher pass-through while exchange rate depreciation and lower retail fuel prices in neighboring countries inhibit it. The econometric results also underscore the fact that countries with inflation tend to experience lower pass-through, whereas those with high public debt exhibit larger pass-through. Finally, no evidence is found that political variables or environmental policies matter with regard to fuel price dynamics in the short-term. These findings, which are consistent across fuel products (gasoline, diesel and kerosene), allow us to draw important policy lessons for fuel subsidy reforms.