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Mario Pessoa, Andrew Okello, Artur Swistak, Muyangwa Muyangwa, Virginia Alonso-Albarran, and Vincent de Paul Koukpaizan
The value-added tax (VAT) has the potential to generate significant government revenue. Despite its intrinsic self-enforcement capacity, many tax administrations find it challenging to refund excess input credits, which is critical to a well-functioning VAT system. Improperly functioning VAT refund practices can have profound implications for fiscal policy and management, including inaccurate deficit measurement, spending overruns, poor budget credibility, impaired treasury operations, and arrears accumulation.This note addresses the following issues: (1) What are VAT refunds and why should they be managed properly? (2) What practices should be put in place (in tax policy, tax administration, budget and treasury management, debt, and fiscal statistics) to help manage key aspects of VAT refunds? For a refund mechanism to be credible, the tax administration must ensure that it is equipped with the strategies, processes, and abilities needed to identify VAT refund fraud. It must also be prepared to act quickly to combat such fraud/schemes.
Mr. Etibar Jafarov, Mr. Rodolfo Maino, and Mr. Marco Pani
Financial repression (legal restrictions on interest rates, credit allocation, capital movements, and other financial operations) was widely used in the past but was largely abandoned in the liberalization wave of the 1990s, as widespread support for interventionist policies gave way to a renewed conception of government as an impartial referee. Financial repression has come back on the agenda with the surge in public debt in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, and some countries have reintroduced administrative ceilings on interest rates. By distorting market incentives and signals, financial repression induces losses from inefficiency and rent-seeking that are not easily quantified. This study attempts to assess some of these losses by estimating the impact of financial repression on growth using an updated index of interest rate controls covering 90 countries over 45 years. The results suggest that financial repression poses a significant drag on growth, which could amount to 0.4-0.7 percentage points.
Jose Saboin
Using a database of up to 62 variables for 196 countries over 57 years, a hyperinflation cycle has been characterized to propose a broader setting of stylized facts. Beyond the usual facts, the findings in this paper contribute to the literature of modern hyperinflations in that these cycles occur in contexts where there are (i) depressed economic freedoms, (ii) deteriorated socioeconomic conditions and rule of law, as well as (iii) high levels of domestic conflictivity and government instability. Despite social infraestructure factors improve during stabilization, they keep being substantially lower than the respresentative non-hyperinflation country, suggesting an important role for them in the occurrence of modern hypeinflations. Finally, the role of international financial assistance in stabilization was studied, noting that (i) a clear majority of hyperinflation countries used it, further improving their (ii) economic freedoms, and allowing themselves (iii) greater fiscal flexibility and (iv) more exchange rate stability.