The December 2015 IMF Research Bulletin features a sampling of key research from the IMF. The Research Summaries in this issue look at “The Impact of Deflation and Lowflation on Fiscal Aggregates (Nicolas End, Sampawende J.-A. Tapsoba, Gilbert Terrier, and Renaud Duplay); and “Oil Exporters at the Crossroads: It Is High Time to Diversify” (Reda Cherif and Fuad Hasanov). Mahvash Saeed Qureshi provides an overview of the fifth Lindau Meeting in Economics in “Meeting the Nobel Giants.” In the Q&A column on “Seven Questions on Financial Frictions and the Sources of the Business Cycle, Marzie Taheri Sanjani looks at the driving forces of the business cycle and macroeconomic models. The top-viewed articles in 2014 from the IMF Economic Review are highlighted, along with recent IMF Working Papers, Staff Discussion Notes, and IMF publications.
This paper attempts to assess the impact of the oil shock on South Asian economies, including Sri Lanka, as well as policy responses to deal with the shock, and the real income loss for low-income households if fuel subsidies were fully removed. The most important impact has been on the balance of payments followed by the results of poverty and social impact analysis (PSIA) conducted for Sri Lanka. Finally, the paper explores to what extent Sri Lanka’s large receipts of worker remittances serve as a hedge against shocks.
Mr. Helaway Tadesse, Mr. Mark W Lewis, Jörg Zeuner, Mr. James A John, Luzmaria Monasi, and Mr. Paolo Dudine
This paper examines the impact of the 2003-05 oil price increase on the balance of payments positions and IMF financing needs of low-income country oil importers. It finds that stronger exports reflecting favorable global conditions, a compression of oil import volumes due to the pass-through of world prices to domestic consumers, and a large increase in capital inflows helped low-income countries cope with the oil price shock. Preliminary data suggest that reductions in oil import volumes have not harmed growth. While fiscal balances generally improved, quasi-fiscal liabilities may be building. Lower demand for IMF assistance may reflect broader trends, but further oil price increases could put pressure on additional countries in 2006 and beyond.
The domestic taxation of petroleum products is an important source of revenue in most countries. However, there is a wide variation of tax rates on petroleum products across countries, which cannot be explained by economic theory alone. This paper surveys different considerations advanced for taxing petroleum and presents petroleum tax rate data in 120 countries. It concludes that a significant reduction in the present extremely wide variation in petroleum prices and tax rates appears warranted.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper highlights that in a shift of policy, the World Bank decided to finance directly health projects in developing countries. Under its old policy, formulated in 1974, health components providing basic health care for low-income individuals were incorporated into projects in other sectors, such as agriculture and rural development, urban development, and water supply and sewerage. Lending for such components will continue. After reviewing the World Bank’s experience in financing health-related activities in 44 countries, the report recommends the adoption of a three-tier pyramidal structure for delivery of health services, adapted to local conditions.