Mr. Jonathan David Ostry, Jorge Alvarez, Mr. Raphael A Espinoza, and Mr. Chris Papageorgiou
While progress has been made in increasing female labor force participation (FLFP) in the last 20 years, large gaps remain. The latest Fund research shows that improving gender diversity can result in larger economic gains than previously thought. Indeed, gender diversity brings benefits all its own. Women bring new skills to the workplace. This may reflect social norms and their impact on upbringing and social interactions, or underlying differences in risk preference and response to incentives for example. As such, there is an economic benefit from diversity, that is from bringing women into the labor force, over and above the benefit resulting from more (male) workers. The study finds that male and female labor are imperfect substitutes in production, and therefore gender differences in the labor force matter. The results also imply that standard models, which ignore such differences, understate the favorable impact of gender inclusion on growth, and misattribute to technology a part of growth that is actually caused by women’s participation. The study further suggests that narrowing gender gaps benefits both men and women, because of a boost to male wages from higher FLFP. The paper also examines the role of women in the process of sectoral reallocation from traditional agriculture to services and the resulting effect on productivity and growth. Because FLFP is relatively high in services, sectoral reallocation along development paths serves to boost gender parity and productivity.
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office
This paper analyzes that the IMF has moved beyond its traditional fiscal-centric approach to recognize that social protection can also be macro-critical for broader reasons including social and political stability concerns. Evaluating the IMF’s involvement in social protection is complicated by the fact that there is no standard definition of social protection or of broader/overlapping terms such as social spending and social safeguards in (or outside) the IMF. In this evaluation, social protection is understood to include policies that provide benefits to vulnerable individuals or households. This evaluation found widespread IMF involvement in social protection across countries although the extent of engagement varied. In some cases, engagement was relatively deep, spanning different activities (bilateral surveillance, technical assistance, and/or programs) and involving detailed analysis of distributional impacts, discussion of policy options, active advocacy of social protection, and integration of social protection measures in program design and/or conditionality. This cross-country variation to some degree reflected an appropriate response to country-specific factors, in particular an assessment of whether social protection policy was macrocritical, and the availability of expertise from development partners or in the country itself.
This paper outlines reforms to increase the effectiveness of the Fund’s capacity development (CD) program. It builds on the 2008 and 2011 reviews of technical assistance (TA) and the 2008 review of training, which set in motion important changes to make CD more valuable to member countries. Reforms will involve Board endorsement in a few areas and implementation by staff of related next steps.
In contrast to most Scandinavian countries, Iceland allocates the income of closely held businesses (CHBs) between capital and labor based on administratively set minimum wages rather than an imputed return to book assets. This paper contrasts the relative tax burdens of the current minimum wage system with asset-based allocation methods, and finds that switching to an asset-based method could increase tax revenues from CHBs in a generally progressive manner. Predictably, the shift would also raise the tax burden of skilled labor-intensive industries more than it would that of capital-intensive industries.
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office
The report assesses IMF surveillance in the period leading up to the global financial and economic crisis and offers recommendations on how to strengthen the IMF's ability to discern risks and vulnerabilities in the future. Chapters discuss the unfolding of the crisis and IMF messages prior to the crisis, and analyze the complex factors that influenced the IMF's performance in the run-up to the crisis. A companion CD provides background papers not included in this report.
This paper reports the second event organized by the Per Jacobsson Foundation in 2008 that took place on Sunday, October 12, in the auditorium of the International Finance Corporation in Washington, DC, in the context of the Annual Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank. From time to time—usually every two years—an additional event is organized in conjunction with the Bank for International Settlements and held in the context of its Annual General Meeting in Switzerland. The Per Jacobsson Foundation was established in 1964 to commemorate the work of Per Jacobsson, the third Managing Director of the IMF (1956–1963) and prior to that, the head of the Monetary and Economic Department of the Bank for International Settlements (1931–1956). The main purposes of the Foundation are to foster and stimulate discussion of international monetary problems, to support basic research in this field, and to disseminate the results of these activities.
This paper presents an overview of the impact of the EC’s Internal Market on the EFTA countries. It starts by examining the history of EC-EFTA relations; the institutional and legal changes that closer cooperation may require; and the general implications of the Internal Market Program for EFTA countries. This is followed by an exploration of specific issues relating to the goods trade, transport services, labor mobility, financial services and capital flows. Subsequent chapters focus on the potential impact of the EC’s proposed monetary unification on EFTA countries and the implications of the EC’s efforts in the area of tax harmonization.