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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

This paper discusses Honduras' First Reviews Under the Stand-by Arrangement (SBA) and Standby Credit Facility (SCF). Program implementation for the first reviews has been strong. All 2014 performance criteria and indicative targets were met, most with significant margins. The authorities have also created fiscal space within the program to increase social spending and support efforts to reduce poverty. On the structural side, December 2014 and March 2015 benchmarks were also generally observed. The revised program proposed for 2015 envisages further strengthening fiscal and net international reserves targets. The IMF staff supports the completion of the first reviews under the SBA and the SCF Arrangements.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper assesses the economic impact of Mexico’s structural reforms. The Mexican authorities have been implementing an ambitious structural reform agenda in a coordinated effort to lift productivity growth. The reforms have targeted a broad range of industries; dissolved state monopolies; and addressed labor market, education, and governance shortcomings. The analysis suggests that external headwinds have masked evidence that the reforms are achieving many of the intended transformations in the targeted sectors. Priority should go to reforms targeting the rule of law and attendant improvements in security and reduction of corruption. These will not only improve the business environment but are key to the success of existing reform efforts.
Ms. Anja Baum, Clay Hackney, Paulo Medas, and Mouhamadou Sy
State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are present in key sectors of the economies around the world. While they can provide an important public service, there is widespread concern that their activities are negatively affected by corruption. However, there is limited cross-country analysis on the costs of corruption for SOEs. We present new evidence on how corruption affects the performance of SOEs using firm level data across a large number of countries. One striking result is that SOEs perform as well as private firms in core sectors when corruption is low. Taking advantage of a novel database reforms, we also show that SOE governance reforms can generate significant performance gains.
Mr. Mauricio Vargas
As emphasized by Hausmann, Rodrik and Velasco, the policy challenge of boosting growth requires prioritization and identifying what are the most binding constraints. This paper draws on firm-level data from the World Bank Enterprise Survey, which suggests that the obstacles for the functioning of firms is related to firm size. Recognizing the potential endogeneity and simultaneity between firms' constraints and firm size, we implement an Ordered-Probit model with a potential categorical endogenous regressor to estimate, for the case of Bolivia, the conditional probability of facing obstacles given the firm size category, while controlling for other factors. The results confirm the importance of allowing for the roles of firm size in identifying constraints and suggest priorities for policies to remove constraints to economic performance.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Madagascar is a fragile country striving to recover from an extended political crisis and international isolation from 2009 to 2013, during which key social and developmental indicators deteriorated. Low revenue collection, substantial low-priority public spending, and governance problems are holding back recovery. Nevertheless, broadly satisfactory performance under the six-month staff monitored program that ended in March 2016 is a sign of improving implementation capacity.