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Prabhat Jha, Joy de Beyer, and Mr. Peter S. Heller

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.

Roger S. Smith

This paper highlights that the distribution of income and wealth in developing countries has become a matter of great concern to all those interested in development. The paper highlights that in Latin America, the poorest half of the population receives about the same share of income as the top 1 percent and the lowest 70–75 percent of the population the same share as the top 5 percent. It is clear that the distribution of income and wealth will have substantial implications for the pattern of consumption and production in developing countries.

Ian W.H. Parry and Mr. Jon Strand
Gasoline and diesel fuel are heavily taxed in many developed and some emerging and developing countries. Outside of the United States and Europe, however, there has been little attempt to quantify the external costs of vehicle use, so policymakers lack guidance on whether prevailing tax rates are economically efficient. This paper develops a general approach for estimating motor vehicle externalities, and hence corrective taxes on gasoline and diesel, based on pooling local data with extrapolations from U.S.evidence. The analysis is illustrated for the case of Chile, though it could be applied to other countries.
Mr. Jon Strand and Mr. Michael Keen
This paper examines the case for internationally coordinated indirect taxes on aviation (as a source of general revenue-not (necessarily) as a source of development finance). The case for such taxes is strong: the tax burden on international aviation is currently limited, yet it contributes significantly to border-crossing environmental damage. A tax on aviation fuel would address the key border-crossing externalities most directly; a ticket tax could raise more revenue; departure taxes face the least legal obstacles. Optimal policy requires deploying both fuel and ticket taxes. A fuel tax of 20 U.S. cents per gallon (10 percent, at today's fuel prices, corresponding to assessed environmental damage), or alternatively ticket taxes of 2.5 percent, would raise about US$10 billion if imposed worldwide, and US$3 billion if applied only in Europe.
Ian W.H. Parry and Victor Mylonas
The pan-Canadian approach to carbon pricing, announced in October 2016, ensures that carbon pricing applies throughout Canada in 2018, with increasing stringency over time to reduce emissions. Canadian provinces and territories have the flexibility to either implement an explicit price-based system—with a minimum price of CAN $10 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2018, increasing to CAN $50 per tonne by 2022—or an equivalently scaled emissions trading system. This paper discusses the rationale for, and design of, the price floor requirement; its (provincial-level) environmental, fiscal, and economic welfare impacts; monitoring issues; and (national-level) incidence. The general conclusion is that the welfare costs and implementation issues are manageable, and pricing provides significant new revenues. A challenge is that the floor price by itself appears well short of what will be needed by 2030 for Canada’s Paris Agreement pledge.