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ALEX MOURMOURAS and JOSÉ A. TIJERINA*

The observation that inflation reduces real revenues when there are lags in tax collection has long been a strong argument against seigniorage. However, with the exception of Dixit, who used a general equilibrium model to reject this argument, the optimal taxation literature has not analyzed how collection lags affect desired tax structures. This paper reexamines the issue using an overlapping generations version of Dixit’s model. It is shown that depending on the size of the expenditure ratio and the specification of the collection cost function, lags may increase, leave unchanged, or reduce the desired rate of inflation.

NADEEM UL HAQUE and RATNA SAHAY

Real wage declines have been common in the public sector in many countries over substantial periods of time. In several cases, such wage reductions have coincided with declines in the efficiency of the public sector. In a simple analytical framework, it is shown that higher wage levels alter the incentive-compatible equilibrium by attracting relatively skilled human capital to the government sector, which raises the quality of public output—tax revenue collection in this paper, increases in wages should complement appropriate monitoring and penalty rates for effective tax administration; prescriptions of raising the statutory tax rate alone, however, may not increase revenue collection.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
This paper presents a report on existing international banking and credit facilities in the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) region. The report presents a background formation on the importance of intraregional trade and payments, the exchange systems of the countries concerned, and banking relationships within the region. Balance of payments statistics of the ECAFE countries are not available in a form that would permit the calculation of intraregional payments for both trade and nontrade transactions. As far as nontrade transactions are concerned, there is reason to believe that the intraregional proportion is low. Although several countries of the ECAFE region have bilateral payments agreements with countries outside the region, especially with Eastern European countries, little of the trade among countries of the region is conducted under bilateral payments agreements. A mandatory system of clearing may be established by mutual agreement of the participating members. Alternatively, each member could retain the freedom to decide whether it would require all transactions to be settled through the clearing union or would leave it to traders to choose what they regard as the most advantageous method of settlement.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
This paper uses microeconomic panel data to examine differences in the cyclical variability of employment, hours, and real wages for skilled and unskilled workers. Contrary to conventional wisdom, it finds that, at the aggregate level, skilled and unskilled workers are subject to the same degree of cyclical variation in wages. However, the quality of labor input is found to rise in recessions, inducing a countercyclical bias in aggregate measures of the real wage. The paper also finds substantial differences across industries in the cyclical variation of employment, hours, and wage differentials, indicating important interindustry differences in labor contracting.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
This paper examines effects of economic growth and speed of adjustment on openness, human development, and fiscal policies. The model developed in this paper postulates that learning through experience raises labor productivity with three major consequences. First, the steady-state growth rate of output becomes endogenous and is influenced by government policies. Second, the speed of adjustment to steady-state growth increases and enhanced learning further reduces adjustment time. Third, both steady-state growth and the optimal net rate of return to capital are higher than the sum of the exogenous rates of technical change and population growth.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
In this paper, a general equilibrium model of a small open economy is constructed that reproduces the pattern of price, wage, and exchange rate behavior stressed by the “vicious circle” view in the case where the primary source of disturbances in the economy is monetary. The paper also undertakes a dynamic analysis of the issue of policy effectiveness and relates the effectiveness of monetary and fiscal policy to the speed of price and wage adjustment, the degree of monetary accommodation, and the openness of the economy. Finally, a policy that allows a country to escape from an inflationary spiral without undergoing a prolonged period of unemployment is proposed. The validity of this policy proposal relies heavily on the assumption that capital markets are highly integrated. With integrated capital markets, a policy of fiscal stimulus is shown to lead to an appreciation of the exchange rate, a reduction in the rate of inflation of wages and prices, and a temporary increase in output and employment. This policy, combined with an appropriate degree of monetary constraint, is shown to be capable, in theory, of breaking a wage-price-exchange rate spiral.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
This paper focuses on various aspects of the Euro-dollar market. The market in Euro-dollars is a wide and complicated one spread over six continents and bound together by a network of cable, telex, and telephone communication. The paperwork in the market tends to confirm rather than to initiate transactions. The financial standing of the banks in the market is such that transactions are based on names and do not involve collateral and guarantees. Some Euro-dollar funds are used to finance commercial loans and other domestic transactions, either in the form of dollars or in local currency purchased with dollars. There has been a large amount of such transactions in Germany, Italy, and Japan, and smaller amounts in many other countries, including Switzerland. The role of Euro-dollars as a money market instrument has some important implications. A substantial part of the Euro-dollar pool circulates and recirculates endlessly among banks. The rapid development of the Euro-dollar market, the facilities offered by a new money market instrument, and the increased, although gentlemanly, competition among banks on both the domestic and international scene, have been accompanied by a certain amount of exuberance.
VITO TANZI

The literature dealing with the impact of inflation on taxation is so extensive that it may suggest that it would be difficult to write anything novel on this subject. Yet a close perusal of this literature shows that it has been biased by the recent experiences of the industrialized countries. For these countries, inflation has generally been associated with increases in the real value of tax revenues, so that many authors have been led to believe that the main inflation-induced problems are the prevention of this supposedly unwanted, or at least unlegislated, increase in revenue and the neutralization of the inevitable effects on the redistribution of the tax burden among income groups. The increase in real revenue is likely to occur mainly when (a) the lags in the collection of taxes are short, and (b) the tax systems are elastic. However, while these conditions seem to characterize many industrialized countries, they are not common to all countries.

VITO TANZI

It has often been argued that many developing countries, in their pursuit of growth through capital accumulation, may have no choice but to run fiscal deficits in order to finance their development expenditures. The reasons given are: (a) that their tax bases are inadequate to allow a high tax burden; (b) that even when adequate tax bases are available, the countries’ tax administrations are too inefficient to take advantage of them; or (c) that, in any case, the political realities are such that high tax burdens are not possible.1 In the absence of developed capital markets or external borrowing, these fiscal deficits are often financed wholly or partly by central banks (i.e., through money creation). This printing of money brings about increases in the general price level and thus reduces the real value of the monetary unit. This reduction can be seen, as Friedman and Bailey showed many years ago, as a kind of tax on those who are holding money.2