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Christine Jones and Miguel A. Kiguel

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

Mr. Liam P. Ebrill, Mr. Michael Keen, Mr. Jean-Paul Bodin, and Victoria Summers

This paper highlights that despite unprecedented gains in living standards in some countries over the past few decades, poverty continues as a harsh reality in too much of the developing world. The causes lie in part with poor country governments that have not followed through on the policies and programs needed to accelerate growth and eradicate poverty. But they also reflect the uneven record of development assistance and protectionist trade policies and agricultural subsidies in industrial countries, which have dampened profitable investment and growth in the developing world.

John B Shoven

The general-equilibrium model has long been the centerpiece of economic theory, but its development through this century has been frustratingly slow. Despite its formalization by Leon Walras late in the nineteenth century, a formal proof of the existence of an equilibrium of the model was not established until the 1950s. It is surprising that Marshallian competitive general-equilibrium microeconomics developed so fully in the absence of even a proof that prices existed that simultaneously cleared all markets. The breakthrough of the 1950s was disappointing in one sense—despite demonstrating existence, the proofs did not determine the equilibrium set of prices. It took another decade and breakthrough to develop reliable algorithms for computing equilibria. The work of Herbert E. Scarf and Harold W. Kuhn in the middle to late 1960s provided this capability.