Mr. Christian Gonzales, Ms. Sonali Jain-Chandra, Ms. Kalpana Kochhar, and Ms. Monique Newiak
This Staff Discussion Note examines the effect of gender-based legal restrictions and other policy choices and demographic characteristics on female labor force participation. Drawing on a large and novel panel data set of gender-related legal restrictions, the study finds that restrictions on women’s rights to inheritance and property, as well as legal impediments to undertaking economic activities such as opening a bank account or freely pursuing a profession, are strongly associated with larger gender gaps in labor force participation. These factors have a significant additional impact on female labor force participation over and above the effects of demographic characteristics and policies. In many cases, the gender gaps caused by these restrictions also have macro-critical effects in terms of an impact on GDP. The results from this study suggest that it would be beneficial to level the playing field by removing obstacles that prevent women from becoming economically active if they choose to do so. In recommending equal opportunities, however, this study does not intend to render a judgment of countries’ broadly accepted cultural and religious norms.
We review the current state of the West African Economic and Monetary Union’s tax coordination framework, against the main objectives of the WAEMU Treaty of 1994: reduce distortions to intra-community trade, and mobilize domestic tax revenue. The process of tax coordination in WAEMU is one of the most advanced in the world—de jure at least—, but remains in many areas ineffective de facto. Nevertheless, the framework has, to some extent, succeeded in converging tax systems, particularly statutory tax rates, and may have contributed to improving revenue mobilisation. Important lessons can be drawn from the WAEMU experience, particularly in terms of whether coordination should take the form of harmonization through a top-down approach, or a softer approach of sharing best practice and limiting certain types of tax competition.
This paper studies the linkage between structural coherence and economic growth. Structural coherence is defined as the degree that a country's industrial structure optimally reflects its factor endowment fundamentals. The paper found that at least for the overall capital, the shares of capital intensive industries were significantly bigger with higher initial capital endowment and faster capital accumulation. Moreover, there is a positive relationship between a country's aggregate output growth and the degree of structural coherence. Quantitatively, the structural coherence with respect to the overall capital explains about 30% of the growth differential among sample countries.
An analysis of data for 39 sub-Saharan African countries during 1985–96 indicates that the variations in tax revenue-GDP ratios within this group are influenced by economic policies and the level of corruption. Namely, these ratios rise with declining inflation, implementation of structural reforms, rising human capital (a proxy for the provision of public services by the government), and declining corruption. The paper confirms that the tax revenue ratio rises with income, and that elements of a country’s tax base (such as the share of agriculture in GDP and the degree of openness) influence tax revenue.
Ms. Janet Gale Stotsky and Ms. Asegedech WoldeMariam
Many sub-Saharan African countries face difficulty in raising tax revenue for public purposes. This study uses panel data on 43 sub-Saharan African countries during 1990-95 to measure the determinants of the tax share in GDP and to construct a measure of tax effort. The analysis suggests that the countries with a relatively high tax share tend to have a relatively high index of tax effort, although these results are not uniform across the countries. The results can be used to provide guidance on to the proper mix of fiscal policy in the event of budgetary imbalance.