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International Monetary Fund

The Selected Issues paper discusses Cambodia’s poverty and growth, private sector development, public financial management reform, and debt sustainability. It summarizes the Poverty Assessment and describes the regime of tax incentives, costs, and limits for private investment. It also summarizes the assessment of Cambodia’s Public Expenditure Management system and Public Financial Management Reform Program. It highlights the key reform priorities, and provides historical background on Cambodia’s external and domestic debt. It also includes a statistical appendix and a summary of the tax system.

Angus Deaton

Before the world can answer questions about how poverty is reduced, it needs to know how progress can be measured. But estimates of the number of the world’s poor and questions about whether it has been decreasing or increasing have given rise to one of the hottest controversies in the development community. Angus Deaton, Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, who has looked in detail at India’s poverty numbers, has been at the center of this debate. He speaks here with Prakash Loungani of the IMF’s External Relations Department about the dimensions of the problem and what can be done to provide more transparent and more reliable data on the world’s poor.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Measures of poverty figure prominently in debates on the social impact ofeconomic policies and are now routinely used to design targeted interventions to fight poverty. This, coupled with the prominence given to the UN Millennium Development Goal of halving the poverty rate in the world by 2015 (relative to 1990), highlights the need for close scrutiny of poverty data and measures. At a February 4 IMF Institute seminar, Martin Ravallion, Research Manager in the Development Research Group of the World Bank, reviewed current methods of measuring poverty and discussed their role in the debate over globalization’s impact on poverty and inequality.

Marijn Verhoeven, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Gerd Schwartz, Mr. Calvin A McDonald, Željko Bogetic, and Mr. Christian Schiller
This paper presents a preliminary analysis of the likely social impact of the economic crisis and the reform programs in three Asian countries—Indonesia, Korea, and Thailand. The focus is on likely changes in real consumption expenditures arising from higher inflation and increases in unemployment. The current social policy measures adopted in the reform programs should provide significant social safety nets for the poor. However, if the social impact turns out to be larger than projected, it would be worthwhile to assess cost-effective and efficient alternatives for expanding social safety nets. The paper presents some options that could be considered.
Ms. Caroline M Kende-Robb and Mrs. Alison M Scott
This paper reviews some early interim and full PRSPs for countries with which the authors worked during 1999-2000 (Uganda, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Mozambique, Mali and The Gambia). The purpose of the review is to compare and contrast how the PRSP process was established there. It finds that rapid progress was made in implementing the initiative in all the countries, increasing commitment to poverty reduction amongst government and donors and encouraging broader participation in the policy dialogue. However, there was considerable variation between the cases, reflecting different local contexts and capacities.
Ms. Caroline M Kende-Robb
The objective of this paper is to present some early experiences of poverty and social impact analysis (PSIA) from the PRGF-supported programs in the African Department. The paper illustrates that many staff country reports have taken a first step toward PSIA by making more explicit the links between poverty and policies. Various examples highlight that even though relationships can be complex and analysis, as a result, may not be definitive, it is possible to assess some of the potential poverty effects even in countries with limited data, and therefore contribute to a more informed policy debate and design. The paper concludes that PSIA can help design policies that are more pro-poor, better define appropriate compensatory and complementary measures where appropriate, and support country ownership of reforms by promoting a public debate on trade-offs between policy choices. In light of this, the paper proposes that PRGF policy advice would benefit from more systematic PSIA and that staff country reports could report more on the potential policy trade-offs and poverty outcomes based on PSIA.
Aart Kraay
Growth is pro-poor if the poverty measure of interest falls. This implies three potential sources of pro-poor growth: (a) a high rate of growth of average incomes; (b) a high sensitivity of poverty to growth in average incomes; and (c) a poverty-reducing pattern of growth in relative incomes. I empirically decompose changes in poverty in a large sample of developing countries into these components. In the medium run, most of the variation in changes in poverty is due to growth, suggesting that policies and institutions that promote broad-based growth should be central to pro-poor growth. Most of the remainder is due to poverty-reducing patterns of growth in relative incomes, rather than differences in the sensitivity of poverty to growth in average incomes. Cross-country evidence provides little guidance on policies and institutions that promote these other sources of pro-poor growth.