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International Monetary Fund

Abstract

The Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) approach has been broadly accepted as the operational framework for bringing together national policies and development assistance in support of low-income countries’ efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals. The IMF, the World Bank, and other multilateral and bilateral development agencies are now committed to using the PRSP operational framework to support low-income countries; and the IMF is aligning the content and process of its operations to reflect this commitment.

Mr. Alejandro Izquierdo, Ward Brown, Mr. Brian Ames, and Shatayanan Devarajan

Abstract

Poverty is a multidimensional problem that goes beyond economics to include, among other things, social, political, and cultural issues (see Box 1). Therefore, solutions to poverty cannot be based exclusively on economic policies, but require a comprehensive set of well-coordinated measures. Indeed, this is the foundation for the rationale underlying comprehensive poverty reduction strategies.1 So why focus on macroeconomic issues? Because economic growth is the single most important factor influencing poverty, and macroeconomic stability is essential for high and sustainable rates of growth.2 Hence, macroeconomic stability should be a key component of any poverty reduction strategy.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

The IMF is carrying out an extensive research program to examine key macroeconomic issues that confront low-income countries in the design and implementation of their national poverty reduction strategies. Drawing on findings from the 2002 joint World Bank-IMF review of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper approach and the IMF review of the Poverty Reduction Growth Facility, research projects are planned and under way in five priority areas:

Mr. Alejandro Izquierdo, Ward Brown, Mr. Brian Ames, and Shatayanan Devarajan

Abstract

Economic growth is the single most important factor influencing poverty. Numerous statistical studies have found a strong association between national per capita income and national poverty indicators, using both income and nonincome measures of poverty.5 One recent study consisting of 80 countries covering four decades found that, on average, the income of the bottom one-fifth of the population rose one-for-one with the overall growth of the economy as defined by per capita GDP (Dollar and Kraay, 2000). Moreover, the study found that the effect of growth on the income of the poor was on average no different in poor countries than in rich countries, that the poverty–growth relationship had not changed in recent years, and that policy-induced growth was as good for the poor as it was for the overall population. Another study that looked at 143 growth episodes also found that the “growth effect” dominated, with the “distribution effect” being important in only a minority of cases (White and Anderson, forthcoming). These studies, however, establish association, but not causation. In fact, the causality could well go the other way. In such cases, poverty reduction could in fact be necessary to implement stable macroeconomic policies or to achieve higher growth.

Mr. Alejandro Izquierdo, Ward Brown, Mr. Brian Ames, and Shatayanan Devarajan

Abstract

Broadly speaking, two considerations underlie macroeconomic policy recommendations. First, there needs to be an assessment of the appropriate policy stance to adopt in a given set of circumstances (i.e., should fiscal and/or monetary policy be tightened or loosened?). Second, there is the choice of specific macroeconomic policy instruments that would be beneficial for a country to adopt (e.g., the use of a nominal anchor, a value-added tax (VAT), etc.). In practice, these two considerations are closely linked. Adjusting a policy stance is often done via the adoption of a new instrument (or the modification of an existing one). More important, both considerations are essential to efforts to enhance an economy’s stability.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

IMF studies on the determinants of growth and poverty in low-income countries cover a broad range of themes, though almost all share an empirical approach to research. These studies broadly explore issues of income distribution, social safety nets, and productivity. Several papers have focused more narrowly on growth in sub-Saharan Africa—in particular, the relationship between HIV/AIDS and economic growth. Relatively fewer have dealt with the subject of savings and investment.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

Summarizes the for ward-looking analytical work program on macroeconomic issues related to the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper approach. The program is evolving through a process that began with a technical workshop; participants from low-income countries, donors, academia, and civil society drafted guidance on selected issues and identified priority research topics. Partners, policymakers, and economic scholars are encouraged to share their perspectives and findings through respective team leaders, whose e-mail addresses are provided. The publication also summarizes IMF analytical work, and contains a bibliography of nearly 1,000 papers.

Mr. Alejandro Izquierdo, Ward Brown, Mr. Brian Ames, and Shatayanan Devarajan

Abstract

Since the emphasis of this pamphlet is on the role of macroeconomic policy in supporting a country’s poverty reduction strategy, the discussion of macroeconomic policies in this section focuses on countries that have broadly achieved macroeconomic stability. Recent data indicate that many developing countries are presently in a state of macroeconomic stability (see Tables 1–3 at the end of this pamphlet). When formulating a country’s poverty reduction strategy, policymakers will need to assess and determine what is the most appropriate combination of key macroeconomic targets that would preserve macroeconomic stability in their particular circumstance. Three key issues are discussed in this section: (1) how to finance poverty-reducing spending in a way that doesn’t endanger macroeconomic stability; (2) what specific policies can be adopted to improve macroeconomic performance; and (3) policies to protect the poor from domestic and external shocks.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

La politique budgétaire influe sur le développement durable par les effets qu'elle exerce sur la croissance économique, sur l'environnement et sur la mise en valeur des ressources. Quelles sont les relations entre la politique budgétaire et le développement durable, et comment le FMI s'efforce-t-il de promouvoir le développement durable dans ses recommandations ? Quel est le bilan de l'expérience acquise à ce jour, et par quels moyens les pouvoirs publics, la communauté internationale et les institutions financières internationales peuvent-ils promouvoir plus efficacement le développement durable ?

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

In most parts of the world, people are healthier and living longer, thanks to improved health services and living conditions and the more widespread use of immunization, antibiotics, and better contraceptives. Although this trend is likely to continue, hopes are fading in some regions where progress slowed or stopped in the 1990s, primarily as a result of the AIDS epidemic. Indeed, life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa declined from 50 to 46 years between 1990 and 2001. Moreover, most regions of the developing world will not, at the current pace, reach the Millennium Development Goals for health by 2015—including reducing child and maternal mortality and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. Here, we give a snapshot of changes in the world’s health and demographic conditions, and, in the following pages, four articles explore the importance of good health for economic development.