International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This article presents an overview of the life of Richard Layard, who believes that the basic purpose of economics is the maximization of happiness and well-being. As director of the Wellbeing Programme at the London School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performance, Layard focuses on the study of happiness. Layard was a distinguished labor economist long before he turned his attention to happiness. He is best known for his research in the 1980s on unemployment and for his advocacy of policies to support unemployed people on the condition that they try to find work. This “welfare to work” approach became popular in parts of continental Europe and was a mainstay of British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s economic program. Layard’s other current preoccupation is climate change. He is one of the drivers of the Global Apollo Program, a project to make renewable energy cheaper than fossil fuels within 10 years through publicly funded, internationally coordinated research and innovation.
The Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy was implemented in an extremely challenging environment, adversely affecting the conduct of macroeconomic and sector policies. The accomplishments in regard to sector policies are highly encouraging. There was notable progress in the administration of justice and police reform efforts. However, there were no significant developments in public administration reform. Congo recognizes that continued, sustainable growth in a stable macroeconomic climate is essential to reducing poverty, and this requires consolidating peace and security, and promoting administrative and economic governance.
This paper presents findings of the Third Review under the poverty reduction and growth facility arrangement for Kenya. The sharp spending increase budgeted for 2007/08 could exert pressures on domestic prices and compromise project quality, but the authorities are taking steps to mitigate these risks. Authorities are committed to fully implementing the budget only if nonfood inflation remains low and project quality is maintained. Some aspects of governance have improved, but challenges remain. Structural reforms in public financial management need to be broadened and financial sector reforms accelerated.
The Article IV Consultation with the Kingdom of Swaziland discusses efforts to broaden the tax base and improve tax administration, in particular through the introduction of a value-added tax and the establishment of a Revenue Authority. The depreciation of the nominal exchange rate along with the South African rand, to which it is pegged, impacted positively on the export sector. Prompt and automatic pass-through of international price increases would also help depoliticize price adjustments.
St. Lucia’s 2008 Article IV Consultation underlies that progress has been made in reducing fiscal imbalances, yet public debt and debt servicing payments continue to rise. Tourism accounts for more than three-fourths of exports, and the import content of both consumption and foreign direct investment is high. Although the share of value added from the traditionally dominant agriculture sector has declined sharply in recent decades, crop exports support the incomes of much of the country’s large rural population.
The September 2007 issue of F&D looks at the growth of cities and the trend toward urbanization. Within the next year, for the first time in history, more than 50 percent of the world's population will be living in urban rather than rural areas. What are the economic implications of this urban revolution? Economists generally agree that urbanization, if handled well, holds great promise for higher growth and a better quality of life. But as the lead article tells us, the flip side is also true: if handled poorly, urbanization could not only impede development but also give rise to slums. Other articles in this series look at poverty as an urban phenomenon in the developing world and the development of megacities and what this means for governance, funding, and the provision of services. Another group of articles discusses the challenge of rebalancing growth in China. 'People in Economics' profiles Harvard economist Robert Barro; 'Country Focus' looks at the challenges facing Mexico, and 'Back to Basics' takes a look at real exchange rates.
This primer explains why macroeconomists need to be concerned with issues of health policy and elaborates the essential information that a macroeconomist should know in providing inputs to discussions on health sector policy. The primer illustrates how these issues and the range of appropriate policy options may differ depending on the state of development of an economy and the particular approach taken by a country in structuring its health system. The primer also highlights the appropriate roles for the state and market in health care financing and provision, taking account of the various sources of market failure in the health sector.
Economic growth in Swaziland has weakened over the past decade. This 2005 Article IV Consultation highlights that real GDP growth decelerated to 2.1 percent in 2004 and an estimated 1.8 percent in 2005. A prolonged drought affected agricultural output, particularly maize, the main staple crop, and cotton. The authorities completed a “Poverty Reduction Strategy and Action Plan” in October 2004. The document spells out policies with the overall objective of halving the 1995 poverty rate by 2015. However, little progress has been made toward this and other Millennium Development Goals.
The staff report for the 2005 Article IV Consultation on Botswana highlights key issues, recent developments, and policy discussions. The authorities are strengthening their structural reform agenda and moving ahead with sector-specific development programs with a view to sustaining annual growth in the 5–6 percent range as targeted in their current medium-term development plan. The authorities recognized the importance of fiscal adjustment to maintaining macroeconomic stability. They have no plans to move away from the exchange rate peg in the near term, but are exploring their options with regard to the monetary policy framework.