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. Marcos d Chamon and Mr. Irineu E de Carvalho Filho
This paper estimates the household income growth rates implied by food demand in a sample of urban Chinese households in 1993–2005. Our estimates, based on Engel curves for food consumption, indicate an average per capita income growth of 6.8 percent per year in 1993–2005. This figure is slightly larger than the 5.9 percent per year obtained by deflating nominal incomes by the CPI. We attribute this discrepancy to a small bias in the CPI, which is of a similar magnitude to the one often associated with the CPI in the United States. Our estimates indicate stronger gains among poorer households, suggesting that urban inflation up to 2005 in China was “pro-poor,” in the sense that the increase in the cost of living for poorer households was smaller than for the average one.
This paper assesses the impact on the poor of the economic reforms undertaken in Bangladesh under Fund-supported structural adjustment programs. It finds that program-induced changes in production, employment, and incomes have benefitted the poor, while the adverse impact of program-induced price changes has been modest. However, as adjustment efforts are intensified under the current structural adjustment program, more pronounced short-term adverse effects might arise, requiring compensatory measures. The paper reviews special assistance programs for the poor, including those designed to mitigate the potential adverse effects of adjustment, noting that improved targeting would yield sizable fiscal savings that could be used for strengthening social programs.
This paper applies, through a case study on Malawi, a simple methodology indicating the first-round (i.e., price) effects of macroeconomic policies on real earnings of the poor. As the economic program in Malawi has not involved substantial exchange rate action or cuts in subsidies, the real incomes of the poor have been most clearly affected by the pricing policies of the agricultural parastatal and the overall anti-inflationary measures incorporated in the program; developments in minimum wages have also been important. The study suggests that, on balance, these various factors have led to an increase in real incomes of the poor over the program period.
Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, and Mr. Hong-Sang Jung
The impact of higher petroleum prices on the aggregate price level, real growth, and income distribution is appraised within a multisector computable general equilibrium (CGE) model. A reduction in the government subsidy raises petroleum prices and production costs throughout the economy. Consumer demand, production, and income decline as output prices increase and consumer purchasing power decreases. The model is applied to and calibrated for Indonesia. The simulated results predict a slight increase in price level and a slight decrease in output. An important result is that urban household groups will be the most significantly affected by the subsidy reduction.
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.