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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.

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.
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.
Mr. Montfort Mlachila, Rene Tapsoba, and Mr. Sampawende J Tapsoba
This paper proposes a new quality of growth index (QGI) for developing countries. The index encompasses both the intrinsic nature and social dimensions of growth, and is computed for over 90 countries for the period 1990-2011. The approach is premised on the fact that not all growth is created equal in terms of social outcomes, and that it does matter how one reaches from one level of income to another for various theoretical and empirical reasons. The paper finds that the quality of growth has been improving in the vast majority of developing countries over the past two decades, although the rate of convergence is relatively slow. At the same time, there are considerable cross-country variations across income levels and regions. Finally, emprirical investigations point to the fact that main factors of the quality of growth are political stability, public pro-poor spending, macroeconomic stability, financial development, institutional quality and external factors such as FDI.
Sheetal K. Chand and Mr. Parthasarathi Shome
Poverty alleviation is typically addressed in financial programming through additive programs that target vulnerable groups but without modifying the underlying stabilization and adjustment targets. Instead, this paper integrates the poverty alleviation objective into the financial programming framework using a well-known poverty index. In consequence, the assessment of trade-offs between competing objectives is facilitated. A simulation demonstrates how the integrated approach can reduce adverse effects on poverty and improve the balance of payments, although at the cost, temporarily, of a higher fiscal deficit and inflation.