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  • Measurement and Analysis of Poverty x
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Mr. Jean-Jacques Hallaert
Absolute poverty has dropped markedly in Bulgaria but income inequality has increased substantially in the aftermath of the GFC. This increase is due to a rise in market income inequality that was compounded by a reduction in fiscal redistribution. The redistributive role of direct taxation has declined with the introduction of a flat tax and social spending is relatively low and decreasing (as a share of GDP), is concentrated on a few social risks, and experienced a decline in its redistributive efficiency. The COVID-19 crisis is likely to deepen income inequality, increasing the room for redistributive policies.
Mr. Martin Cihak and Ms. Ratna Sahay
The study examines empirical relationships between income inequality and three features of finance: depth (financial sector size relative to the economy), inclusion (access to and use of financial services by individuals and firms), and stability (absence of financial distress). Using new data covering a wide range of countries, the analysis finds that the financial sector can play a role in reducing inequality, complementing redistributive fiscal policy. By expanding the provision of financial services to low-income households and small businesses, it can serve as a powerful lever in helping create a more inclusive society but—if not well managed—it can amplify inequalities.
Mr. Alexei P Kireyev
This paper reviews the significant macro-fiscal challenges posed by climate change in Djibouti and the costs of mitigation and adaptation policies. The paper concludes that Djibouti is susceptible to climate change and related costs are potentially large. Investing now in adaptation and mitigation has large benefits in terms of reducing the related costs in the future. Reforms to generate the fiscal space are therefore needed and investment for mitigation and adaptation to climate change should be built into the long-term fiscal projections. Finally, concerted international efforts and stepping up regional cooperation could help moderate climate-related macro-fiscal risks.
Tingyun Chen, Mr. Jean-Jacques Hallaert, Mr. Alexander Pitt, Mr. Haonan Qu, Mr. Maximilien Queyranne, Alaina Rhee, Ms. Anna Shabunina, Jérôme Vandenbussche, and Irene Yackovlev
This SDN studies the evolution of inequality across age groups leading up to and since the global financial crisis, as well as implications for fiscal and labor policies. Europe’s population is aging, child and youth poverty are rising, and income support systems are often better equipped to address old-age poverty than the challenges faced by poor children and/or unemployed youth today.
Mr. Alexei P Kireyev and Jingyang Chen
The paper suggests an operationally usable framework for the evaluation of growth inclusiveness—the inclusive growth framework (IGF). Based on the data on growth, poverty, and inequality, the framework allows for the quantitative assessment of growth inclusiveness. The assessment relies on the decomposition of the change in poverty into growth, distribution, and decile effects, which can be calculated using the Distributive Analysis Stata Package (DASP). Availability of at least two household surveys is the main precondition for the use of the IGF. The application of the IGF is illustrated with two country cases of Senegal and Djibouti.
Mr. Alexei P Kireyev
The paper examines the poverty-reducing and distributional characteristics of Djibouti’s economic growth, and discusses policies that might help make growth more inclusive. It covers the period between 2002 and 2013, for which comparable household surveys are available. The main findings are that while in the past decade the overall level of poverty in Djibouti declined, there have been no clear signs of improvements in either equality or growth inclusiveness. Growth has not been inclusive and benefitted mainly those in the upper part of the income distribution. These conclusions should be treated as indicative. Progress in poverty reduction and inclusiveness would require not only sustained high growth but also the creation of opportunities in sectors with high earning potential for the poor. Better targeted social policies and more attention to the regional distribution of spending would also help reduce poverty and improve inclusiveness.
Elin Baldárrago and Mr. Gonzalo Salinas
While trade integration has been an engine of global growth and prosperity, as suggested by theory, some sectors have been negatively affected by increased import competition. We test if this negative effect is significant in a context of high intranational migration, as theory indicates that labor mobility could reduce it. We focus on the 2004-14 period of trade liberalization in Peru (a major beneficiary of trade integration), which allows for methodological improvements relative to similar studies. We find that districts competing with liberalized imports experienced significantly lower growth in consumption per capita despite some emigration in response to increased import competition. This underscores the need to support the “losers of trade liberalization” even amidst high labor mobility.
Zsoka Koczan
Emerging Europe has undergone a major economic transformation over the past 25 years. Most countries experienced initial drops in output during transition, followed by recovery in the second half of the 1990s. The path of transition in the Western Balkans has however been particularly uneven. The effects of transition also seem to have been more traumatic and persistent in the Western Balkans, and nostalgia for the past appears to be more prevalent here than in other former communist regions. Such dissatisfaction has important implications for the political economy of further reforms. This paper aims to inform policy by complementing the analysis of standard macro-level measures of inequality and poverty with a household-level analysis of subjective perceptions of poverty. We find that many more people appear to feel poor than are classified as such using purely income-based measures. Uncertainty, in particular related to expectations of future income and vulnerability to shocks, appears to be a key driver behind this discrepancy.
Mr. Mauricio Vargas and Santiago Garriga
We investigate the factors driving Bolivia’s success in reducing inequality and poverty during the last 15 years. Our evidence suggests that the reduction was driven mainly by labor income growth at the bottom end of the income distribution. Increases in non-labor income (rents, transfers, remittances) also played a role, but a smaller one, although the introduction of Renta Dignidad has made a big difference for the elderly poor. Labor income increases were concentrated in the informal, low-skilled service and manufacturing sectors. As the gains from the commodity boom go into reverse, and the fiscal envelope becomes much tighter, it will be essential that labor and social policies are well designed and targeted to preserve the poverty and inequality reduction of the last 15 years.
Mr. Montfort Mlachila, Rene Tapsoba, and Mr. Sampawende J Tapsoba
This paper proposes a new quality of growth index (QGI) for developing countries. The index encompasses both the intrinsic nature and social dimensions of growth, and is computed for over 90 countries for the period 1990-2011. The approach is premised on the fact that not all growth is created equal in terms of social outcomes, and that it does matter how one reaches from one level of income to another for various theoretical and empirical reasons. The paper finds that the quality of growth has been improving in the vast majority of developing countries over the past two decades, although the rate of convergence is relatively slow. At the same time, there are considerable cross-country variations across income levels and regions. Finally, emprirical investigations point to the fact that main factors of the quality of growth are political stability, public pro-poor spending, macroeconomic stability, financial development, institutional quality and external factors such as FDI.