The paper discusses the social protection implications of the weakening financial and administrative capacity of countries undergoing economic transition. The formal sector is shrinking, and unemployment and underemployment are rising rapidly. This is affecting both the revenue base of social protection programs and the ability of these countries to target social benefits. These developments make it imperative for these countries to restructure social benefits, rely more on self-targeting mechanisms to deliver benefits, as well as take immediate steps to improve payroll tax compliance. This is a Paper on Policy Analysis and Assessment and the author(s) would welcome any comments on the present text Citations should refer to a Paper on Policy Analysis and Assessment of the International Monetary Fund, mentioning the author(s) and the date of issuance. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Fund.
This paper aims to determine how much of the economic slowdown of Albania is owing to cyclical conditions and how much to a reduction in potential growth. The analysis shows that average growth in 2009–14 dropped by 3.2 percentage points relative to 1997–2008, of which 2.8 percentage points are due to lower potential growth. Albania has significant potential to improve its export competitiveness. However, Albania’s competitiveness has shown narrow improvements over the past five years, with weak productivity growth and continued concentration in low-skilled labor-intensive sectors with limited value added. This paper also explores the factors underpinning Albania’s relatively low level of general government revenues.