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Mario Mansour and Mr. Gregoire Rota Graziosi
We review the current state of the West African Economic and Monetary Union’s tax coordination framework, against the main objectives of the WAEMU Treaty of 1994: reduce distortions to intra-community trade, and mobilize domestic tax revenue. The process of tax coordination in WAEMU is one of the most advanced in the world—de jure at least—, but remains in many areas ineffective de facto. Nevertheless, the framework has, to some extent, succeeded in converging tax systems, particularly statutory tax rates, and may have contributed to improving revenue mobilisation. Important lessons can be drawn from the WAEMU experience, particularly in terms of whether coordination should take the form of harmonization through a top-down approach, or a softer approach of sharing best practice and limiting certain types of tax competition.
Ms. Valerie Cerra and Martha Tesfaye Woldemichael
This paper investigates the determinants of sustained accelerations in goods and services exports. Strong predictors of export takeoffs include domestic and structural indicators such as lower macroeconomic uncertainty, improved quality of institutions, a depreciated exchange rate, and agricultural reforms. Lower tariffs, participation in global value chains and diversification also contribute to initiating export accelerations. The paper also finds heterogeneity, with somewhat different triggers for Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as for goods and services. Finally, despite the lack of a robust effect on output, export surges tend to be associated with lower post-acceleration unemployment and income inequality.
Mr. Dhaneshwar Ghura
An analysis of data for 39 sub-Saharan African countries during 1985–96 indicates that the variations in tax revenue-GDP ratios within this group are influenced by economic policies and the level of corruption. Namely, these ratios rise with declining inflation, implementation of structural reforms, rising human capital (a proxy for the provision of public services by the government), and declining corruption. The paper confirms that the tax revenue ratio rises with income, and that elements of a country’s tax base (such as the share of agriculture in GDP and the degree of openness) influence tax revenue.
Wai-Yip Alex Ho and Chun-Yu Ho
We find that from 1995 to 2002 in China, the dispersion of wealth decreased, the moneywealth ratio increased for all wealth levels and the aggregate money-output ratio increased. We develop a two-asset dynamic general equilibrium model in which households face a portfolio adjustment cost and a borrowing constraint. We find that financial development lowers the dispersion of wealth by reducing the precautionary motive of households. In addition, tight monetary policies increase the value of money and thus increase the moneywealth ratio for all wealth levels and the aggregate money-output ratio.
Mr. Serhan Cevik and Carolina Correa-Caro
This paper investigates the empirical characteristics of income inequality in China and a panel of BRIC+ countries over the period 1980–2013, with a focus on the redistributive contribution of fiscal policy. Using instrumental variable techniques to deal with potential endogeneity, we find evidence supporting the hypothesis of the existence of a Kuznets curve—an inverted Ushaped relationship between income inequality and economic development—in China and the panel of BRIC+ countries. In the case of China, the empirical results indicate that government spending and taxation have opposing effects on income inequality. While government spending appears to have a worsening impact, taxation improves income distribution. Even though the redistributive effect of fiscal policy in China appears to be stronger than what we identify in the BRIC+ panel, it is not large enough to compensate for the adverse impact of other influential factors.
Mr. Ruben V Atoyan and Jesmin Rahman
The Western Balkan countries have some of the lowest female labor force participation and employment rates across Europe. Almost two-thirds of working age women in the region are either inactive or unemployed: a huge bite into human capital for a region that endures high emigration and faces declining working age population. The paper uses both macro- and micro-level data to explore what explains low participation and employment rates among women in the region. Our findings show that improving educational attainment, having a more balanced family leave policy, and reducing tax wedge help improve participation of women in the labor force. However, these measures are not enough to notably improve employability of women, which require stronger growth supported by robust institutions.
Mr. Arye L. Hillman
This paper is concerned with economic consequences of unethical governance. A framework is set out, based on principles of Friedrich Nietzsche, that ties poverty and inequality to unethical behavior of the strong toward the weak. The paper contributes to an understanding of why poverty and inequality have remained entrenched in some societies in spite of repeated programs intended to improve living standards. The purpose is to include ethics of governance, and, in particular, unethical behavior of the strong toward the weak, in preconditions for economic development.