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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Abstract

Growth is strengthening and broadening across Europe, driven by buoyant domestic demand (Figure 1.1). Following a pickup in economic activity in the second half of 2016, the European economy accelerated further in the first half of 2017, with growth outcomes surprising on the upside in most countries.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Abstract

The countries of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe (CESEE) have made major progress in raising living standards over the past two and a half decades. This progress was supported by a radical transformation of their economies and institutions. Using case studies and empirical analysis, this chapter explores the role of internal and external factors, particularly accession to the European Union (EU), in supporting reforms to strengthen the effectiveness of the judiciary. The findings suggest that, beyond initial conditions, an enabling environment for judicial reforms was created by factors and policies that (1) improved the distribution of resources and opportunities, (2) upgraded rules and procedures to recruit and train civil servants, and (3) increased transparency and accountability. The European Union and the Council of Europe (CoE) acted as strong external anchors in catalyzing reforms. However, there were also some reversals of reforms, and the sustainability of reforms appears to depend mainly on domestic factors. These findings might offer insights in particular for countries aiming to join the European Union, but also for others seeking to improve the effectiveness of their judiciary.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Abstract

Income convergence in the Western Balkans has stalled at low levels.1 Measured in purchasing-power-parity (PPP) terms, income levels in the region today are less than 30 percent what they are in the euro area (Figure 3.1). Equally noteworthy, the ratio has not changed since 2008. This is in sharp contrast to the experience of the New Member States of the European Union (EU), where relative incomes have continued to grow strongly since the global financial crisis and are now at nearly two-thirds those of the euro area. There are many reasons for this disappointing performance,2 including an unfinished transition, exemplified in some countries by a large swath of inefficient state-owned enterprises; shortcomings in the rule of law and the business environment; limited human capital, exacerbated in some countries by significant emigration of qualified human resources, or “brain drain”; and scant and poor-quality public infrastructure. While acknowledging these issues, this chapter focuses on another important plank for the region’s development: the health of its banking sectors. Implicit is the assumption that, even if reforms in the other areas bring about high-quality bankable projects, their potential, and with it overall economic growth, will not be fully realized if banks are not in a good position to fund them.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

This report presents the findings of an evaluation of the effectiveness of IMF interactions with its member countries during the period 2001-08, with special emphasis on 2007-08. It analyzes IMF interactions with its entire membership, broken down into three main country groups: advanced economies, emerging economies, and Poverty Reduction Growth Facility (PRGF)-eligible countries. The report comes at a critical juncture for the international monetary system, when the IMF has adopted a more flexible approach to lending and been given new responsibilities, as well as a major infusion of resources to help members deal with the global financial crisis. It highlights lessons learned from the evaluation that are most relevant to the tasks that lie ahead for the IMF.

Mr. Thomas C. Dawson and Miss Gita Bhatt
In the space of just a few years, the term “civil society” has entered the international policy vocabulary in many contexts. The IMF’s engagement with civil society organizations (CSOs) raises several broad questions: Which CSOs have been, and should be, engaged by the Fund? What questions should IMF-CSO engagement address? What are the limits to the dialogue? This paper examines the evolution of IMF-civil society relations and their effects on the Fund. It also seeks to identify the tensions that underlie the relationship.
International Monetary Fund
This paper on the Republic of Poland was prepared by a staff team of the International Monetary Fund as background documentation for the periodic consultation with the member country. It is based on the information available at the time it was completed in July 2012. The views expressed in this document are those of the staff team and do not necessarily reflect the views of the government of the Republic of Poland or the Executive Board of the IMF.
International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
This Technical Assistance (TA) report focuses on four key work areas which may lead to improvement of Government Finance Statistics (GFS) for fiscal analysis, support policy making decisions in Zambia, and improve African Department surveillance. The mission found out that the Coordinating Committee, recommended in the previous TA mission, was not yet established. The mission reviewed progress on the legal and institutional arrangements supporting the compilation of GFS as a follow up from recommendations of the previous GFS TA mission and found that the legislation reforms were on track, especially regarding the Public Finance Act. The report also found that Central Statistical Office (CSO) is working on the revision of the Statistics Act to follow the new strategy for National Development of Statistics. For sustainability and consistency purposes, the mission recommended that the CSO staff produce a GFS manual for compilation and dissemination of GFS data.
Mr. Tito Boeri, Ms. Prachi Mishra, Mr. Chris Papageorgiou, and Mr. Antonio Spilimbergo
Populists claim to be the only legitimate representative of the people. Does it mean that there is no space for civil society? The issue is important because since Tocqueville (1835), associations and civil society have been recognized as a key factor in a healthy liberal democracy. We ask two questions: 1) do individuals who are members of civil associations vote less for populist parties? 2)does membership in associations decrease when populist parties are in power? We answer thesequestions looking at the experiences of Europe, which has a rich civil society tradition, as well as of Latin America, which already has a long history of populists in power. The main findings are that individuals belonging to associations are less likely by 2.4 to 4.2 percent to vote for populist parties, which is large considering that the average vote share for populist parties is from 10 to 15 percent. The effect is strong particularly after the global financial crisis, with the important caveat that membership in trade unions has unclear effects.
International Monetary Fund
A stronger presumption of publication for all program-related documents could further increase publication rates, while defining prompt publication should help reduce publication lags. Streamlining external communication products could reduce the risk of inconsistent messaging. The review also presents new evidence on evenhandedness with now only few cases not fulfilling the criteria for modifications under the policy. It nevertheless suggests measures to strengthen monitoring in this area. The review sets out the Fund’s policies on confidential information, and proposes that staff systematically explains these policies in its interactions with country authorities. In response to recent surveillance reforms, the review also proposes a new publication regime for multi-country documents. Staff sees the introduction of a publication regime for a new category of multi-country documents as the best way to ensure that the Fund publishes candid multilateral surveillance, while respecting members’ needs. Similarly, the modification rules for country documents will need to be adapted to take into account the implications of the Integrated Surveillance Decision (ISD).