Ms. Annalisa Fedelino, Mr. Gerd Schwartz, and Marijn Verhoeven
This paper assesses whether the scaling up of aid and the resulting increase in government spending that is needed to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) would be hampered by wage bill ceilings that are often part of government programs supported by the IMF's Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). Based on country case studies for 2003-05, the paper suggests that, in the past, wage bill ceilings have not restricted the use of available donor funds. Yet the paper offers a number of suggestions for further enhancing the flexibility of wage bill conditionality in PRGF-supported programs to respond to higher aid flows that may result in the future.
This paper addresses the potential effects on human capital accumulation and economic growth of the alternative compositions of public expenditures in the context of a computable dynamic general equilibrium model of overlapping generations and heterogeneous agents in which altruistic parents make schooling decisions for their children. In the presence of fixed and variable costs for different levels of schooling, we show that reducing household costs of primary education has the largest positive impact on growth and poverty reduction in the short run. Moreover, an increase in higher education spending increases long-run growth. These effects can be substantial even when increasing education spending comes at the expense of public infrastructure investment.
Mrs. Ritha S. Khemani, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Calvin A McDonald, Mr. Louis Dicks-Mireaux, and Marijn Verhoeven
As part of its mandate, the IMF seeks to create the conditions necessary for sustained high-quality growth, which encompasses a broad range of elements. These include sound macroeconomic policies, growth-enhancing structural reforms, good governance, and such social policies as cost-effective social safety nets and targeted social expenditures. This paper reviews the IMF's policy advice in two key areas of social policy: social safety nets and public spending on education and health care. It was initiated as part of the work by the World Bank and IMF to strengthen the poverty focus of adjustment programs in low-income countries, in particular within the framework of the Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs).
Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Henry Ma, and Mr. Christian Schiller
Privatization promotes economic efficiency and growth, thereby reinforcing macroeconomic adjustment. In the short run, however, it can lead to job losses and wage cuts for workers and higher prices for consumers. This paper discusses these impacts and the fiscal implications of privatization. It then reviews various methods of privatization and finds that public sales and auctions can have more negative effects on workers but maximize the government’s revenue gains. Policymakers’ options for mitigating the social impact of privatization are surveyed, and experiences under adjustment programs reviewed.