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Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, and Ms. Gabriela Inchauste

Abstract

Fiscal policy can foster growth and human development through a number of different channels. These include the macroeconomic (for example, through the influence of the budget deficit on growth) as well as the microeconomic (through its influence on the efficiency of resource use). But how precisely do these channels work in developing countries? What kinds of tax and expenditure policies should developing countries implement to help them meet the Millennium Development Goals? And how can international aid be made more effective? Drawing on both theory and country experience, this book brings together IMF research on the various ways fiscal policy can be used to help spur economic development.

Mr. Arvind Subramanian, Mr. Francesco Trebbi, and Mr. Dani Rodrik
We estimate the respective contributions of institutions, geography, and trade in determining cross-country income levels using recently developed instruments for institutions and trade. Our results indicate that the quality of institutions "trumps" everything else. Controlling for institutions, geography have at best weak direct effects on incomes, although it has a strong indirect effect through institutions. Similarly, controlling for institutions, trade has a negative, albeit, insignificant direct effect on income, although trade too has a positive effect on institutional quality. We relate our results to recent literature, and where differences exist, trace their origins to choices on samples, specification, and instrumentation.