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International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept., International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, &, and Review Department

Background papers to the "Strategy for IMF Engagement on Social Spending"

International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
This Technical Assistance (TA) report focuses on four key work areas which may lead to improvement of Government Finance Statistics (GFS) for fiscal analysis, support policy making decisions in Zambia, and improve African Department surveillance. The mission found out that the Coordinating Committee, recommended in the previous TA mission, was not yet established. The mission reviewed progress on the legal and institutional arrangements supporting the compilation of GFS as a follow up from recommendations of the previous GFS TA mission and found that the legislation reforms were on track, especially regarding the Public Finance Act. The report also found that Central Statistical Office (CSO) is working on the revision of the Statistics Act to follow the new strategy for National Development of Statistics. For sustainability and consistency purposes, the mission recommended that the CSO staff produce a GFS manual for compilation and dissemination of GFS data.
Mr. Tito Boeri, Ms. Prachi Mishra, Mr. Chris Papageorgiou, and Mr. Antonio Spilimbergo
Populists claim to be the only legitimate representative of the people. Does it mean that there is no space for civil society? The issue is important because since Tocqueville (1835), associations and civil society have been recognized as a key factor in a healthy liberal democracy. We ask two questions: 1) do individuals who are members of civil associations vote less for populist parties? 2)does membership in associations decrease when populist parties are in power? We answer thesequestions looking at the experiences of Europe, which has a rich civil society tradition, as well as of Latin America, which already has a long history of populists in power. The main findings are that individuals belonging to associations are less likely by 2.4 to 4.2 percent to vote for populist parties, which is large considering that the average vote share for populist parties is from 10 to 15 percent. The effect is strong particularly after the global financial crisis, with the important caveat that membership in trade unions has unclear effects.
Mr. Roberto Piazza
Empirical tests of the New Keynesian Phillips Curve have provided results often inconsistent with microeconomic evidence. To overcome the pitfalls of standard estimations on aggregate data, a Full Information Partial Equilibrium approach is developed to exploit sectoral level data. A model featuring sectoral NKPCs subject to a rich set of shocks is constructed. Necessary and sufficient conditions on the structural parameters are provided to allow sectoral idiosyncratic components to be linearly extracted. Estimation biases are corrected using the model's restrictions on the partial equilibrium propagation of idiosyncratic shocks. An application to the US, Japan and the UK rejects the purely forward looking, labor cost-based NKPC.
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

This paper discusses that the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) has also launched three new evaluations—which will analyze the IMF’s role on fragile states, its financial surveillance activities, and its advice on unconventional monetary policies—and two evaluation updates—which will look into the IMF’s exchange rate policy advice and structural conditionality. The evaluation found that, for the most part, the IMF’s euro area surveillance identified the right issues during the pre-crisis period but did not foresee the magnitude of the risks that would later become paramount. The IMF’s surveillance of the financial regulatory architecture was generally of high quality, but staff, along with most other experts, missed the buildup of banking system risks in some countries. The report found several issues with the way decision making was managed by the IMF. In May 2010, the IMF Executive Board approved a decision to provide exceptional access financing to Greece without seeking preemptive debt restructuring, even though its sovereign debt was not deemed sustainable with a high probability.

International Monetary Fund
The framework guiding the IMF’s communications—established by the Executive Board in 2007—has enabled the institution to respond flexibly to the changing global context. The framework is based on four guiding principles: (i) deepening understanding and support for the Fund’s role and policies; (ii) better integrating communications into the IMF’s daily operations; (iii) raising the impact of new communications materials and technologies; and (iv) rebalancing outreach efforts to take account of different audiences. In addition, greater emphasis has been placed on strengthening internal communications to help ensure institutional coherence in the Fund’s outreach activities. Continued efforts are needed to strengthen communications going forward. Several issues deserve particular attention. First, taking further steps to ensure clarity and consistency in communication in a world where demand for Fund services continues to rise. Second, doing more to assess the impact of IMF communications and thus better inform efforts going forward. Third, engaging strategically and prudently with new media—including social media.
International Monetary Fund

By combating malaria with mosquito nets or building schools and providing basic sanitation, philanthropy is helping transform the developing world. Rich donors are devoting fortunes—many of them earned through computer software, entertainment, and venture capitalism— to defeating poverty and improving lives, supplementing and in some cases surpassing official aid channels.From billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to Aliko Dangote and George Soros, the titans of capitalism are backing good causes with their cash. Whether financing new vaccines, building libraries, or buying up Amazon rain forest to protect the environment, philanthropists are supporting innovations and new approaches that are changing lives and building dreams.This issue of F&D looks at the world of targeted giving and social entrepreneurship.“ Philanthropy’s role is to get things started,” says Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who is the world’s most generous giver. “We used foundation funds to set up a system to make market forces work in favor of the poor.” He says that catalytic philanthropy can make a big difference. “Good ideas need evangelists. Forgotten communities need advocates.” Former U.S. President Bill Clinton tells us that networks of creative cooperation between government, business, and civil society can get things done better to solve the world’s most pressing problems.Also in this issue, Prakash Loungani profiles superstar economist Jeffrey Sachs, who helped campaign for debt relief for developing economies and championed the Millennium Development Goals. We look at how, instead of spending commodity price windfalls on physical investments, which are often sources of corruption, governments of poor countries are sometimes well advised to hand some of the income over to their citizens. We examine moves by major central banks to ease our way out of the crisis enveloping advanced economies in our Data Spotlight column, and we hear about how China’s growth inspires creativity in the West.