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Mr. Eric Le Borgne and Ms. Katherine Baer

Abstract

Tax amnesties remain as popular as ever as a tool for raising revenue and increasing tax compliance. International experience, however, shows that the costs of tax amnesty programs often exceed the programs’ benefits. This paper weighs the advantages and disadvantages of tax amnesties, drawing on results from the theoretical literature, econometric evidence, and selected country and U.S. state case studies. The authors conclude that “successful” tax amnesties are the exception rather than the norm. Improvements in tax administration are the essential ingredient in addressing the main problems that tax amnesties seek to address. Indeed, the most successful amnesty programs rely on improving the tax administration’s enforcement capacity. ?Given the potential drawbacks of tax amnesties, a few alternative measures are discussed.

Mr. Kevin Fletcher, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Duncan P Last, Mr. Gerd Schwartz, Mr. Shamsuddin Tareq, Mr. Richard I Allen, and Ms. Isabell Adenauer

Abstract

The international community has committed to scaling up aid and improving aid delivery to low-income countries to help them meet the Millennium Development Goals. Other "emerging" donors, public and private, are increasing their assistance, and debt-relief initiatives are creating space for new borrowing. Remittances to low-income countries have been on a precipitous rise, and many countries are benefiting from high commodity prices. Fiscal Management of Scaled-Up Aid explores approaches to the sound fiscal management that will be required to ensure effective and sustainable use of these flows. With a medium-term perspective and efficient use of resources in mind, this paper addresses questions that shape fiscal policy response to scaled-up aid. Drawing on IMF Fiscal Affairs Department technical assistance to member countries, it outlines factors that should be taken into account in preparing an action plan for public financial management reform and proposes specific measures that will assist countries in strengthening fiscal institutions.

Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Kevin J Carey, and Mr. Ulrich Jacoby

Abstract

What is the impact on trade in sub-Saharan Africa of the recent rapid growth in China and other Asian countries, and the associated commodity price boom? This paper looks at how trading patterns (both destinations and composition) are changing in sub-Saharan Africa. Has the region managed to diversify the products it sells from commodities to manufactured goods? Has it expanded the range of countries to which it exports? And what about the import side? The time is ripe for sub-Saharan African countries to climb up the value chain of their commodity-based exports and/or achieve an export surge based on labor-intensive manufacturing.

Mr. Peter S. Heller and Mr. William C. Hsiao

Abstract

This primer explains why macroeconomists need to be concerned with issues of health policy and elaborates the essential information that a macroeconomist should know in providing inputs to discussions on health sector policy. The primer illustrates how these issues and the range of appropriate policy options may differ depending on the state of development of an economy and the particular approach taken by a country in structuring its health system. The primer also highlights the appropriate roles for the state and market in health care financing and provision, taking account of the various sources of market failure in the health sector.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

Iran has received much attention from a geopolitical and regional standpoint, but its economic challenges have not attracted a similar degree of interest. With a population of 69 million, considerable hydrocarbon resources, a dynamic and entrepreneurial middle class, and a relatively well-educated labor force, Iran's economic potential is considerable. This volume takes stock of critical developments in the Iranian economy in recent years. The study reviews the key issues and policy responses, highlights the nature of the challenges ahead, and draws implications for the next phase of reforms. The authors conclude that major challenges remain, although significant advances have been made in recent years in opening up the economy to international trade and foreign direct investment, encouraging the private sector, removing exchange restrictions, reforming the tax system, and enhancing macroeconomic management.

Yongzheng Yang, Mr. Robert Powell, and Mr. Sanjeev Gupta

Abstract

Au cours des dix prochaines années, les pays africains seront les principaux bénéficiaires de l'augmentation de l'aide extérieure, qui vise à les aider à atteindre les objectifs du millénaire pour le développement. Ce manuel vise à aider ces pays à évaluer les effets macroéconomiques de l'expansion de l'aide et à surmonter les défis qu'ils impliquent. Il se veut une référence pour les responsables, les économistes praticiens sur le terrain et le personnel des institutions financières internationales et des organismes donateurs qui participent à l'élaboration de stratégies à moyen terme pour les pays africains, notamment dans le contexte des documents de stratégie pour la réduction de la pauvreté. Le manuel présente cinq directives principales pour l'élaboration de scénarios d'expansion visant à aider les pays à déterminer les questions politiques importantes pour une gestion efficace de l'augmentation des flux d'aide : comment absorber autant d'aide extérieure que possible, comment augmenter la croissance à court et à moyen terme, comment promouvoir la bonne gouvernance et réduire la corruption, comment préparer une stratégie de sortie pour faire face à une diminution de l'aide, et comment réévaluer régulièrement le dosage de mesures.

Mr. M. Cangiano, Mr. Barry Anderson, Mr. Max Alier, Murray Petrie, and Mr. Richard Hemming

Abstract

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) refer to arrangements under which the private sector supplies infrastructure assets and infrastructure-based services that traditionally have been provided by the government. PPPs are used for a wide range of economic and social infrastructure projects, but they are used mainly to build and operate roads, bridges and tunnels, light rail networks, airports and air traffic control systems, prisons, water and sanitation plants, hospitals, schools, and public buildings. PPPs offer benefits similar to those offered by privatization, which is the sale of government-owned enterprises or assets. By the late 1990s, when privatization was losing much of its earlier momentum, PPPs began to be widely seen as a means of obtaining private sector capital and management expertise for infrastructure investment. After a modest start, a wave of PPPs is now beginning to sweep the world. This Special Issue paper provides an overview of some of the issues raised by PPPs, with a particular focus on their fiscal consequences. It also looks at government guarantees, which are used fairly widely to shield the private sector from risk and are a common feature of PPPs. And it examines the consequences of PPPs and guarantees for debt sustainability. The paper concludes with a list of measures that can maximize the benefits and minimize the fiscal risks associated with the use of PPPs. Various appendices augment the discussion by examining country experiences with PPPs, summarizing the statistical reporting framework used to discuss fiscal accounting and reporting, explaining accounting for risk transfer, examining how guarantees are modeled and estimated in Chile, and summarizing international accounting and reporting standards for contingent liabilities.

Yongzheng Yang, Mr. Robert Powell, and Mr. Sanjeev Gupta

Abstract

Over the next decade, African countries are expected to be the largest beneficiaries of increased donor aid, which is intended to improve their prospects for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. This handbook will help these countries assess the macroeconomic implications of increased aid and respond to the associated policy challenges. The handbook is directed at policymakers, practicing economists in African countries, and the staffs of international financial institutions and donor agencies who participate in preparing medium-term strategies for African countries, including in the context of poverty reduction strategy papers. It provides five main guidelines for developing scaling-up scenarios to help countries identify important policy issues involved in using higher aid flows effectively: to absorb as much aid as possible, to boost growth in the short to medium term, to promote good governance and reduce corruption, to prepare an exit strategy should aid levels decrease, and to regularly reassess the policy mix.