We review the current state of the West African Economic and Monetary Union’s tax coordination framework, against the main objectives of the WAEMU Treaty of 1994: reduce distortions to intra-community trade, and mobilize domestic tax revenue. The process of tax coordination in WAEMU is one of the most advanced in the world—de jure at least—, but remains in many areas ineffective de facto. Nevertheless, the framework has, to some extent, succeeded in converging tax systems, particularly statutory tax rates, and may have contributed to improving revenue mobilisation. Important lessons can be drawn from the WAEMU experience, particularly in terms of whether coordination should take the form of harmonization through a top-down approach, or a softer approach of sharing best practice and limiting certain types of tax competition.
Some natural resources-oil and minerals in particular-exert a negative and nonlinear impact on growth via their deleterious impact on institutional quality. We show this result to be very robust. The Nigerian experience provides telling confirmation of this aspect of natural resources. Waste and poor institutional quality stemming from oil appear to have been primarily responsible for Nigeria's poor long-run economic performance. We propose a solution for addressing this resource curse which involves directly distributing the oil revenues to the public. Even with all the difficulties that will no doubt plague its actual implementation, our proposal will, at the least, be vastly superior to the status quo. At best, however, it could fundamentally improve the quality of public institutions and, as a result, durably raise long-run growth performance.
This paper studies the linkage between structural coherence and economic growth. Structural coherence is defined as the degree that a country's industrial structure optimally reflects its factor endowment fundamentals. The paper found that at least for the overall capital, the shares of capital intensive industries were significantly bigger with higher initial capital endowment and faster capital accumulation. Moreover, there is a positive relationship between a country's aggregate output growth and the degree of structural coherence. Quantitatively, the structural coherence with respect to the overall capital explains about 30% of the growth differential among sample countries.
This paper develops new error assessment methods to evaluate the performance of debt sustainability analyses (DSAs) for low-income countries (LICs) from 2005-2015. We find some evidence of a bias towards optimism for public and external debt projections, which was most appreciable for LICs with the highest incomes, prospects for market access, and at ‘moderate’ risk of debt distress. This was often driven by overly-ambitious fiscal and/or growth forecasts, and projected ‘residuals’. When we control for unanticipated shocks, we find that biases remain evident, driven in part by optimism regarding government fiscal reaction functions and expected growth dividends from investment.
Recent studies have highlighted the adverse impact of corruption on economic performance. This paper advances the hypothesis that corruption is largely a symptom of underlying weaknesses in public policies and institutions, a formulation that provides deeper insights into economic performance than do measures of “perceived corruption.” The hypothesis is tested by assessing the relative importance of structural reforms vs. corruption in explaining macroeconomic performance in the transition economies. The paper finds that for four widely used measures of economic performance—growth, inflation, the fiscal balance, and foreign direct investment—structural reforms tend to dominate the corruption variable.
Ms. Janet Gale Stotsky and Ms. Asegedech WoldeMariam
Many sub-Saharan African countries face difficulty in raising tax revenue for public purposes. This study uses panel data on 43 sub-Saharan African countries during 1990-95 to measure the determinants of the tax share in GDP and to construct a measure of tax effort. The analysis suggests that the countries with a relatively high tax share tend to have a relatively high index of tax effort, although these results are not uniform across the countries. The results can be used to provide guidance on to the proper mix of fiscal policy in the event of budgetary imbalance.
An analysis of data for 39 sub-Saharan African countries during 1985–96 indicates that the variations in tax revenue-GDP ratios within this group are influenced by economic policies and the level of corruption. Namely, these ratios rise with declining inflation, implementation of structural reforms, rising human capital (a proxy for the provision of public services by the government), and declining corruption. The paper confirms that the tax revenue ratio rises with income, and that elements of a country’s tax base (such as the share of agriculture in GDP and the degree of openness) influence tax revenue.
This paper investigates the empirical characteristics of income inequality in China and a panel of BRIC+ countries over the period 1980–2013, with a focus on the redistributive contribution of fiscal policy. Using instrumental variable techniques to deal with potential endogeneity, we find evidence supporting the hypothesis of the existence of a Kuznets curve—an inverted Ushaped relationship between income inequality and economic development—in China and the panel of BRIC+ countries. In the case of China, the empirical results indicate that government spending and taxation have opposing effects on income inequality. While government spending appears to have a worsening impact, taxation improves income distribution. Even though the redistributive effect of fiscal policy in China appears to be stronger than what we identify in the BRIC+ panel, it is not large enough to compensate for the adverse impact of other influential factors.