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JANET G. STOTSKY

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.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper reviews Pakistan’s tax regime, evaluates the level and composition of tax revenues, and estimates tax buoyancy and efficiency. Despite recent progress under the program, Pakistan’s tax revenue remains very low relative to comparator developing countries and the tax effort expected for the country’s level of development. This reflects narrow tax bases, overgenerous tax concessions and exemptions, weak and fragmented revenue administrations, and structural features of the economy. The findings suggest that unlocking tax revenue potential requires broadening tax bases, strengthening revenue administration and taxpayer compliance, eliminating distortionary tax expenditures, and rationalizing tax policy for greater efficiency and equity through a comprehensive and front-loaded reform agenda.
Bengt Petersson, Rodrigo Mariscal, and Kotaro Ishi
How important are female workers for economic growth? This paper presents empirical evidence that an increase in female labor force participation is positively associated with labor productivity growth. Using panel data for 10 Canadian provinces over 1990–2015, we found that a 1 percentage point increase in the labor force participation among women with high educational attainment would raise Canada’s overall labor productivity growth by 0.2 to 0.3 percentage point a year. This suggests that if the current gap of 7 percentage points between male and female labor force participation with high educational attainment were eliminated, the level of real GDP could be about 4 percent higher today. The government has appropriately stepped up its efforts to improve gender equality, as part of its growth strategy. In particular, the government’s plan to expand access to affordable child care is a positive step. However, we argue that to maximize the policy outcome given a budget constraint, provision of subsidized child care—including publicly funded child care spaces—should be better targeted to working parents.