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Burcu Aydin
Will Ghana’s oil production from 2011 accelerate progress toward middle-income status, or will it retard gains in living standards through a possible "resource curse"? This paper examines the likelihood of "resource curse" effects, drawing on a dataset of 150 low and middle income countries from 1973 to 2008 using static and dynamic panel estimation techniques. Results confirm that resource rich countries in Ghana’s income range do experience slower growth than their more diversified peers, an effect that appears to be related to weaker governance. Provided that Ghana can preserve and improve its economic governance and also strengthen fiscal management, prospects look good for converting its oil wealth into sustained strong economic growth.
Mr. Tobias N. Rasmussen
Each year natural disasters affect about 200 million people and cause about $50 billion in damage. This paper compares the incidence of natural disasters across countries along several dimensions and finds that the relative costs tend to be far higher in developing countries than in advanced economies. The analysis shows that small island states are especially vulnerable, with the countries of the Eastern Caribbean standing out as among the most disaster-prone in the world. Natural disasters are found to have had a discernible macroeconomic impact, including large effects on fiscal and external balances, pointing to an important role for precautionary measures.
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.
Vitor Gaspar, Laura Jaramillo, and Mr. Philippe Wingender
An empirical finding by Gaspar, Jaramillo and Wingender (2016) shows that once countries cross a tax-to-GDP threshold of around 12¾ percent, real GDP per capita increases sharply and in a sustained manner over the following decade. In this paper, we attempt via four case studies—Spain, China, Colombia, and Nigeria—to illustrate that the improvements in tax capacity have been part of a deeper process of state capacity building. We discuss the political conditions that supported tax capacity building, highlighting three important political ingredients: constitutive institutions, inclusive politics and credible leadership.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

With large financial wealth, Qatar is well positioned to weather lower hydrocarbon prices. Nonetheless, the substantial price decline and the on-going fiscal consolidation are dampening economic performance and the outlook.

International Monetary Fund

In this study, macroeconomic development, its performance, and outlook are reviewed. Narrowing of the infrastructure gap and public financial management (PFM) are focused to safeguard investment quality. Fiscal reform has been introduced to improve the design of the tax system and to strengthen fiscal institutions that the FAD technical assistance (TA) mission introduced. A comprehensive action plan has been introduced to improve the business climate. The outstanding debt issues are being resolved.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

The oil price shock that started in mid-2014 has substantially reduced fiscal revenue and exports, with growth coming to a halt and inflation accelerating sharply. This has brought to the forefront the need to address more forcefully vulnerabilities and dependence on oil, and to diversify the economy. The authorities have taken steps to mitigate the impact of the external shock: an 18 percent of GDP improvement in the non-oil primary fiscal balance over 2015-16, mainly through spending cuts including the removal of fuel subsidies, has been implemented; and the kwanza has been devalued against the U.S. dollar by over 40 percent since September 2014, with international reserves being used to smooth the depreciation. However, the exchange rate has been re-pegged since April 2016 leading to an appreciation of the kwanza in real terms, and further policy actions are needed to continue adjusting the economy to the ‘new normal' in the oil market and to return growth to a level consistent with poverty reduction.