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Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Mr. David Coady, Frank Eich, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Alvar Kangur, Baoping Shang, and Mauricio Soto

Abstract

Pension reform is high on the policy agenda of many advanced and emerging market economies. In advanced economies the challenge is generally to contain future increases in public pension spending as the population ages. In emerging market economies, the challenges are often different. Where pension coverage is extensive, the issues are similar to those in advanced economies. Where pension coverage is low, the key challenge will be to expand coverage in a fiscally sustainable manner. This volume examines the outlook for public pension spending over the coming decades and the options for reform in 52 advanced and emerging market economies.

Mr. Alfred Schipke and Mr. Dominique Desruelle

Abstract

How to entrench hard-won gains, increase resilience to shocks, and improve growth performance to reduce poverty? As Central America moves forward in regaining macroeconomic stability, these are the challenges. This study analyzes Central America’s real, fiscal, monetary, and financial sector policies at the regional level, starting with a review of growth performance and the macroeconomic implications of remittances. It then looks at the sustainability of pension systems, financial system development, sovereign debt vulnerabilities, and ways to sustain progress in reducing inflation by strengthening the credibility of central banks.

Mr. Philippe Egoume Bossogo, Mr. Jerald A Schiff, Ms. Miho Ihara, Mr. Tetsuya Konuki, and Ms. Kornelia Krajnyak

Abstract

More than a decade after the start of the transition process, unemployment rates remain in the double digits in a number of Central and Eastern European countries. That unemployment rates have failed to decline, even in countries experiencing good growth, is puzzling. In this paper the authors examine three interrelated questions: How has the transition from central planning to market economies affected labor market performance? How have labor market institutions and policies influenced developments? Why have regional differences in unemployment persisted? The authors take an eclectic methodological approach: construction of a new data set and a simple analytical model; econometric estimation; and case studies. They find that faster-performing countries have better unemployment records; that labor market policies have some, but not dominant, influence over labor market outcomes; that policies not typically viewed as labor market policies can nevertheless significantly affect labor markets; and that market processes cannot be relied on to eliminate regional differences in unemployment.

Mr. Jerald A Schiff, Mr. Axel Schimmelpfennig, Mr. Niko A Hobdari, and Mr. Roman Zytek

Abstract

This paper provides an overview of efforts in the Baltic countries to reform their pension systems, and examines the choices facing these countries in their continued reform efforts. Early reforms were aimed at correcting the flaws of the inherited Soviet system and, in particular, at shoring up the finances of the pension systems and reducing their distortionary impact. The Baltic countries have been in the forefront of transition economies in their pursuit of pension reform. They have taken important steps to shore up the long-run financial health of their existing pension funds and made preparations for the implementation of a three-pillar scheme. Although a move toward a fully funded pension system can potentially make an important contribution to the objectives of pension reform, such a change is neither necessary nor sufficient to meet these goals. The existing PAYG pension system can, at least in theory, be made sustainable by an appropriate adjustment of payroll tax rates and expected lifetime pension benefits, although the average replacement rate implied by such changes may well be fairly low, reflecting the expected demographic developments.

Mr. Sergei V. Alexashenko and Mr. Augusto López-Claros

Abstract

Since 1992, the Russian Federation has moved away from a command economy and has laid the foundation of a market-based system. This paper examines some of the key fiscal policy issues that arose in 1992-96, the period following the onset of economic liberalization and reform.

Mr. Alfredo Cuevas, Mr. George A Mackenzie, and Mr. Philip R. Gerson

Abstract

Public pension systems around the world have been criticized in recent years for some serious flaws, including the excessive burden they impose on the public finances and their depressing impact on saving rates. This study analyzes the impact of pension systems and pension reform on saving, paying particular attention to the impact of the introduction of defined-contribution plans like that of Chile. It also surveys the literature on the impact of pension regimes on saving, discusses some recent reforms, and addresses the role of private pension plans.

Sheetal K. Chand and Mr. Albert Jaeger

Abstract

This paper discusses a study analyzing aging populations and public pension schemes. An aging society is characterized by a growing proportion of the retired to the active working population. The study examines the pension-related aging problem primarily from a fiscal perspective. It analyzes how prospective demographic developments that affect the proportion of the pensionable elderly affect pension outlays. It confirms that very serious fiscal stresses are in prospect for most industrial economies. Addressing such problems satisfactorily will require major actions early, given the long lead times involved in reforming a pension fund's financial position.

Mr. Mohsin S. Khan and Mr. Dimitri G Demekas

Abstract

This paper outlines the main characteristics and the development of the centrally planned economic sysetm in Romania before the beginnings of the transition to a market eonomy it then presents the design, objectives, and implementation of the reform program.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This chapter discusses the changes that have taken place in the underlying structural relationships determining government expenditures between 1975 and 1986. The paper describes the methodological problems in analyzing the determinants of government expenditure patterns, and the issues involved in making cross-country expenditure comparisons, and the problems confronting country economists in assessing a country's expenditure profile. The Tait-Heller study concluded that the international expenditure comparison (IEC) framework provided a “starting point” for analysis. In many respects, this conclusion would still appear valid; if anything, the issues associated with using the IEC indices have become more rather than less complex. Data limitations also pose a limiting factor on the usefulness of an analysis of the IEC indices of a country, and even more strongly suggest its use only as complementary to more detailed sectoral and economic analyses of expenditure profiles. The results for the developing countries in the European region are almost identical to those observed in Africa, with the key exception being an increased priority for expenditure on social security and welfare and a decline in the priority attached to education.

Mr. Edgardo Ruggiero, Mr. Peter S. Heller, Mr. Menachem Katz, Mr. Robert A Feldman, Mr. Richard Hemming, Mr. Peter Kohnert, Ziba Farhadian, Mr. Donogh McDonald, Ahsan S. Mansur, and Mr. Bernard Nivollet

Abstract

Most of the seven major industrial countries are now experiencing significant changes in their demographic structure. A persistent pattern of declining fertility and improving life expectancy has created major segments of the population that are already relatively aged or will become so in the near future. This paper examines the impact of prospective demographic trends on the level and structure of social expenditure by the governments of the seven major industrial countries (the Group of Seven) through the year 2025.