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International Monetary Fund
The paper discusses the consideration of Honduras’s Enhanced Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC). The interim relief provided under the enhanced HIPC Initiative has allowed the government to increase social spending. Controlling the public sector wage bill and maintaining strong revenue collection is critical for sustaining a stable macroeconomic framework and adequate poverty reduction efforts. Efforts are also needed to reduce vulnerabilities and improve the resilience to external shocks by introducing more flexibility into the exchange rate regime.
International Monetary Fund
Reserve requirements are widely used by central banks as a means to improve monetary control, an instrument for policy implementation, a source of revenue, and a safeguard of bank liquidity. The effectiveness of reserve requirements in fulfilling these functions is reviewed, and the detailed modalities of their use are examined. Reserve requirements in a sample of developing countries are described.
Ana Carvajal and Ms. Jennifer A. Elliott
Weaknesses in the enforcement of regulation have been targeted by the G-20 as a priority concern for reform. But enforcement efforts in securities markets have proven difficult and uneven. The recent scandal in the United States, wherein a Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Bernard Madoff went undetected by the U.S. authorities for more than two decades, has once again highlighted the importance of effective enforcement of securities regulation, as well as the challenges that securities regulators around the world face in implementing credible enforcement programs. While in many instances it is individuals who bear the losses, we show that noncompliance with securities law can have serious system-wide impact and that the credibility of the system as a whole rests on the existence of effective discipline-the probability of real consequences for failure to obey the law. This paper explores the elements of enforcement, why it is so challenging, why it is important, and whether its effects can be measured. Through an analysis of the data gathered in the World Bank/IMF Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP), the paper examines how enforcement is being carried out around the world and draws conclusions regarding how countries are meeting the challenge of effective enforcement.
Mrs. Swarnali A Hannan
The paper employs synthetic control method (SCM) to determine the impact of trade agreements for 64 Latin American country pairs in the period 1989-1996. The results suggest that trade agreements have markedly boosted exports in Latin America, on an average by 76.4 percentage points over ten years. However, there is variation across countries and agreements. The export gains due to trade agreements are lower than the world average comprising 104 country pairs in the period 1983-1995.
Adriana D. Kugler
This paper documents recent labor market performance in the Latin American region. The paper shows that unemployment, informality, and inequality have been falling over the past two decades, though still remain high. By contrast, productivity has remained stubbornly low. The paper, then, turns to the potential impacts of various labor market institutions, including employment protection legislation (EPL), minimum wages (MW), payroll taxes, unemployment insurance (UI) and collective bargaining, as well as the impacts of demographic changes on labor market performance. The paper relies on evidence from carefully conducted studies based on micro-data for countries in the region and for other countries with similar income levels to draw conclusions on the impact of labor market institutions and demographic factors on unemployment, informality, inequality and productivity. The decreases in unemployment and informality can be partly explained by the reduced strictness of EPL and payroll taxes, but also by the increased shares of more educated and older workers. By contrast, the fall in inequality starting in 2002 can be explained by a combination of binding MW throughout most of the region and, to a lesser extent, by the introduction of UI systems in some countries and the role of unions in countries with moderate unionization rates. Falling inequality can also be explained by the fall in the returns to skill associated with increased share of more educated and older workers.