This paper discusses key findings of the Fiscal Transparency Evaluation report on Guatemala. Guatemala has transparency practices that achieve the ratings of basic, good, and advanced regarding three-quarters of the principles established in the IMF’s Fiscal Transparency Code. The wealth of information available and the systems in place related to the public sector’s execution of its budget, finances, and accounts allow for easy access by the population to an impressive volume of fiscal data. However, there is much room for improvement in the area of fiscal transparency. Establishing a new fiscal pact in which the medium-term fiscal targets are defined would help create fiscal predictability and ensure that the major challenges of social and economic development are met.
This paper investigates the efficiency of domestic and foreign banks in the Central American region during 2002-07. Using two main empirical approaches, Data Envelopment Analysis and Stochastic Frontier Analysis, the paper finds that foreign banks are not necessarily more efficient than their domestic counterparts. If anything, the regional banks that were acquired by global banks in a wave of acquisitions during 2005-07 can keep up with the local institutions. The efficiency of these acquired banks, however, is shown to have dropped during the acquisition year, recovering only slightly thereafter. Finally, it is important to account for the environment in which banks operate, as country-, sector- and firm-specific characteristics are found to have a considerable influence on bank efficiency.