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Joel Hellman and Mr. Daniel Kaufmann

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Most former Soviet republics have fallen into an economic and political under-reform trap. An intrusive state imposes high tax rates and drives entrepreneurs into the unofficial economy, which further aggravates the pressure on official businessmen. Tax revenues and public goods dwindle, further reducing incentives to register business activity. This economic under-reform trap has a political counterpart. Remarkably, Communist parties remain popular and opposed to establishing the rule of law precisely in those places where they were able to delay and derail reform. No electoral backlash prompts the reforms necessary to leave the under-reform trap. The best way out of the trap in countries such as Russia and Ukraine is increased economic and political competition among the elite.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

The June issue of Finance & Development, which will be available shortly, includes several articles focusing on the fight against corruption. In many countries, corruption is a major factor weakening the body politic and jeopardizing prospects for economic growth. Among the articles in this issue are:

International Monetary Fund
The 2008 transition to the new banking supervisory framework in Poland has been relatively smooth, and the banking system has proven effective in weathering the financial crisis. This assessment focuses on the working of the Polish Financial Supervision Commission (KNF), which is responsible for banking supervision in Poland. KNF has undertaken numerous proactive measures to preserve financial sector stability during the crisis. As a priority, KNF’s interaction with bank auditors as well as with supervisory board members should also be strengthened.
International Monetary Fund
This Detailed Assessment Report reviews antimoney laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) measures for Germany. The report reveals that Germany has introduced a number of measures in recent years to strengthen its AML/CFT regime. Germany has generated a relatively large number of prosecutions for money laundering and orders to confiscate assets. These achievements occurred even though Germany has shortcomings identified in this assessment against the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) 40 + 9 Recommendations. There are also weaknesses in the legal framework and in sanctioning for noncompliance with AML/CFT requirements.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
The Web edition of the IMF Survey is updated several times a week, and contains a wealth of articles about topical policy and economic issues in the news. Access the latest IMF research, read interviews, and listen to podcasts given by top IMF economists on important issues in the global economy.
Kent Osband
It is not unusual for reforming socialist economies to relax wage controls without hardening budget constraints on enterprises or freeing consumer goods prices. This policy can be dangerously destabilizing. While higher wages permit workers to purchase more of some goods, they also tend to exacerbate shortages and to breed waste and corruption. Beyond a certain level, economy-wide wage hikes will worsen worker welfare. This is true regardless of whether deficit goods are strictly rationed, are sold randomly at official prices to queuing workers, or are offered to workers by “insiders” only at black market prices. However, the form of allocation does influence output and worker welfare.
Mr. Anil Ari and Gabor Pula
Ukraine’s economic performance has been anemic since the early 1990s. A major impediment to productivity growth has been low investment, held back by lack of strong and independent institutions. This paper aims to assess the major areas of institutional weakness in Ukraine and quantify the long-term growth impact of catching-up to Poland in terms of the quality of major economic institutions and market development. Our analysis identifies the legal system as the area where the institutional quality is weakest compared to Poland, followed distantly by market competition, openness to trade and financial depth. Using a methodology that accounts for positive spillovers between the structural reform areas, we estimate that even under the most optimistic scenario, where institutional gaps are fully addressed, Ukraine would need 15 years to catch up to Poland’s current income level.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

04/211: Pakistan: Eighth Review Under the Three-Year Arrangement Under the PRGF and Request for Waivers and Modification of Performance Criteria