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International Monetary Fund

The staff report for Niger’s 2008 Article IV Consultation, first review under the Three-Year Arrangement Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility, and request for Waivers and Modification of Performance Criteria is discussed. The authorities initially suspended taxes on critical foodstuffs but also relied on targeted interventions for vulnerable groups, which made it possible to end the tax suspensions in September. They also froze the retail price of petroleum products, in effect suspending part of the tax on fuel.

Mr. Markus Haacker and Mr. N. F. R. Crafts
The paper evaluates the impact of HIV/AIDS on welfare in several countries affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Unlike studies focusing on the impact of HIV/AIDS on GDP per capita, we evaluate the impact of increased mortality using estimates of the value of statistical life. Our results illustrate the catastrophic impact of HIV/AIDS in the worst-affected countries and suggest that studies focusing on GDP and income per capita capture only a very small proportion of the welfare impact of HIV/AIDS.
Mr. Marc G Quintyn and Sophia Gollwitzer
This paper tests the theoretical framework developed by North, Wallis and Weingast (2009) on the transition from closed to open access societies. They posit that societies need to go through three doorsteps: (i) the establishment of rule of law among elites; (ii) the adoption of perpetually existing organizations; and (iii) the political control of the military. We identify indicators reflecting these doorsteps and graphically test the correlation between them and a set of political and economic variables. Finally, through Identification through Heteroskedasticity we test these relationships econometrically. The paper broadly confirms the logic behind the doorsteps as necessary steps in the transition to open access societies. The doorsteps influence economic and political processes, as well as each other, with varying intensity. We also identify income inequality as a potentially important force leading to social change.
Ms. Helene Poirson Ward, Mr. Luca A Ricci, and Ms. Catherine A Pattillo
This paper assesses the non linear impact of external debt on growth using a large panel data set of 93 developing countries over 1969–98. Results are generally robust across different econometric methodologies, regression specifications, and different debt indicators. For a country with average indebtedness, doubling the debt ratio would reduce annual per capita growth by between half and a full percentage point. The differential in per capita growth between countries with external indebtedness (in net present value) below 100 percent of exports and above 300 percent of exports seems to be in excess of 2 percent per annum. For countries that are to benefit from debt reduction under the current HIPC initiative, per capita growth might increase by 1 percentage point, unless constrained by other macroeconomic and structural economic distortions. Our findings also suggest that the average impact of debt becomes negative at about 160–170 percent of exports or 35–40 percent of GDP. The marginal impact of debt starts being negative at about half of these values. High debt appears to reduce growth mainly by lowering the efficiency of investment rather than its volume.
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.
Mr. N. F. R. Crafts
This paper reviews the experience of economic growth during the twentieth century with a view to highlighting implications for both growth economists and policy-makers. The unprecedented divergence in income levels between the OECD economies and many developing countries is documented but so too is a more optimistic picture of widespread progress in terms of the Human Development Index. Various aspects of the changes in economic structure are explored in terms of their implications for growth performance both in retrospect and prospect. The possibility that the growth process will lead to another globalization backlash reminiscent of the 1930s is analyzed.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Alively discussion developed over desirable economic and governmental reforms at a recent seminar organized by the IMF and the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) for parliamentarians and members of consultative councils from the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)— Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Part of the context was the below-potential economic growth of the region and the associated stagnation of real per capita incomes in recent decades.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that the oil price shock is adversely impacting the economy of Angola. While oil production has recovered following the completion of maintenance work, non-oil GDP growth is expected to decelerate to 2.1 percent in 2015. The economic situation in 2016 is likely to remain challenging as international oil prices are not expected to recover and risks are on the downside. Growth is projected to remain stable at 3.5 percent in 2016, with the oil sector growing by about 4 percent. The non-oil sector is expected to show a small improvement.