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International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office


This report seeks to help the IMF enhance its effectiveness by identifying major recurring issues from the IEO’s first 20 evaluations and assessing where they stand. The IMF’s core areas of responsibility are surveillance, lending, and capacity development. The aim of this report is to strengthen the follow-up process by focusing on key issues that recurred in IEO evaluations, rather than on specific recommendations on their implementation. The IEO believes that a framework of reviewing and monitoring recurring issues would be useful in establishing incentives for progress, strengthening the Board’s oversight, and providing learning opportunities for the IMF.

International Monetary Fund
Canada’s macroeconomic and policy performance has continued to outshine most other industrial countries, and its outlook remains favorable. The new government has pledged to maintain the strong social consensus in favor of fiscal surpluses, while aiming at enhancing incentives. The new budget should ensure that a prudent fiscal framework is maintained. The favorable domestic and external environment will boost the economy’s long-term growth potential. While the financial system appears well placed to support growth, there is still room to furthering its efficiency and resilience.
Mr. Luc Everaert and Mr. Werner Schule
Using the IMF's Global Economic Model, calibrated to the European Union, the effects of reform in product and labor markets are quantified for both a large and a small euro area economy. When markups in these markets are reduced, there are sizable long-term gains in output and employment. Most of these gains accrue to the reforming country regardless of whether reform takes place elsewhere; conversely, spillovers of reform elsewhere are limited. Labor and services market reforms have transitional costs as they induce a temporary decline in consumption, but raising competition in goods markets can mitigate some of these costs. Thus, coordinating the timing of reforms across markets is beneficial, and the more so the more open the reforming economy. In addition, synchronizing structural reforms across large countries of the euro area could eliminate transition costs. Increased supply would allow monetary policy to ease without jeopardizing price stability objectives, though in practice uncertainty may prevent full accommodation.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper for Sweden reports that the gradual introduction of a detailed fiscal framework accompanied the successful consolidation effort over the last decade in Sweden. The framework includes a surplus target of 2 percent of GDP for the general government, multiyear expenditure ceilings for central government, and a balanced budget requirement for local governments. Reliance on the expertise of an independent agency for the implementation of the fiscal framework could further enhance transparency and strengthen enforcement.
Mr. Leo Bonato and Ms. Lusine Lusinyan
Work absence is an important part of the individual decision on actual working hours. This paper focuses on sickness absence in Europe and develops a stylized model where absence is part of the labor-leisure decision made by workers and the production decision made by profit-maximizing firms, with insurance provisions and labor market institutions affecting the costs of absence. The results from a panel of 18 European countries indicate that absence is increased by generous insurance schemes where employers bear little responsibility for their costs. Shorter working hours reduce absence, but flexible working arrangements are preferable if labor supply erosion is a concern.
International Monetary Fund
The Selected Issues paper analyzes tax policy trends at the local level in Sweden and assesses the effectiveness of the vertical fiscal policy coordination system. The study reviews Sweden’s local public finances from an international perspective and empirically explores various explanations for the gradual increase in local tax rates. It discusses long-term challenges for local public finances and aggregate fiscal policy coordination. The design of vertical fiscal policy coordination in other countries is described. The paper also examines the Swedish experience of work absence in a European context.
International Monetary Fund
As will become apparent in the assessments, Norway’s membership in the European Statistical System shapes Norwegian official statistics and statistical policy in a number of ways. Norway produces and disseminates a significant share of its data consistent with the legal requirements of the system. Norway’s macroeconomic statistics are of generally high quality. They are adequate to conduct effective surveillance, although the mission (held in Oslo during November 11–26, 2002, by the IMF Statistics Department) identified some shortcomings that may detract from the accurate and timely analysis of economic and financial developments and the formulation of appropriate policy.
International Monetary Fund
Sweden’s quality of life, public health, and educational attainment indicators are among the best in the world. Although it is impossible to pin down the optimal size of the welfare state precisely, the government has generally agreed to have become too big by the late 1980s. Globalization is changing the context in which the Swedish model operates by limiting its tax-based financing, but it does not rule out the preservation of its key elements. This paper assesses the effectiveness and impact of the extensive and highly developed welfare state in Sweden.