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Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Alejandro Hajdenberg, and Mr. Javier Arze del Granado
This paper studies the cyclical behavior of public spending on health and education in 150 countries during 1987 - 2007. It finds that spending on education and health is procyclical in developing countries and acyclical in developed countries. In addition, education and health expenditures follow an asymmetric pattern in developing countries; they are procyclical during periods of positive output gap and acyclical during periods of negative output gap. Furthermore, the degree of cyclicality is higher the lower the level of economic development.
Ms. Ana Corbacho and Mr. Hamid R Davoodi
This paper analyzes Central America's track record on inequality, poverty, and quality of fiscal adjustment in relation to economic growth; health and education outcomes; adequacy of social safety nets; and governance. It then assesses the degree to which the track record can be traced to reforms in public expenditure and governance. Despite the considerable heterogeneity among the countries in the region, there are some policies that all countries need to pursue. Sustained growth and a better quality of fiscal adjustment are needed, as well as policies aimed at increasing individuals' productivity and improving governance.