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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.

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.

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.

R. Portes, A. Swoboda, W.M. Scammel, Robert Hormats, Bahram Nowzad, Philip Cagan, Frederick Ribe, Martin Feldstei, Lan Bovenberg, Sebastian Edward, Mr. Liaquat Ahamed, Anthony Lanyi, Susan Joeke, Masooma Habib, H.W. Arndt, and Robert Picciotto

This paper discusses the structural adjustment in low-income countries. In the first 20 months of its operations, the IMF’s structural adjustment facility (SAF) has provided concessional financial assistance to support the balance-of-payments adjustment efforts of 21 low-income member countries. Most SAF arrangements have supported policy reform programs that have also received support under other IMF facilities. The fundamental concept underlying the SAF is the notion that growth and adjustment are mutually reinforcing.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
We need to understand more deeply a number of critical issues that confront the World Bank and its member countries before we can transform knowledge into effective actions
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

The IMF Research Bulletin, a quarterly publication, selectively summarizes research and analytical work done by various departments at the IMF, and also provides a listing of research documents and other research-related activities, including conferences and seminars. The Bulletin is intended to serve as a summary guide to research done at the IMF on various topics, and to provide a better perspective on the analytical underpinnings of the IMF’s operational work.

Petia Topalova
This paper uses the 1991 Indian trade liberalization to measure the impact of trade liberalization on poverty, and to examine the mechanisms underpinning this impact. Variation in sectoral composition across districts and liberalization intensity across production sectors allows a difference-in-difference approach. Rural districts, in which production sectors more exposed to liberalization were concentrated, experienced slower decline in poverty and lower consumption growth. The impact of liberalization was most pronounced among the least geographically mobile, at the bottom of the income distribution, and in Indian states where inflexible labor laws impeded factor reallocation across sectors.
Elin Baldárrago and Mr. Gonzalo Salinas
While trade integration has been an engine of global growth and prosperity, as suggested by theory, some sectors have been negatively affected by increased import competition. We test if this negative effect is significant in a context of high intranational migration, as theory indicates that labor mobility could reduce it. We focus on the 2004-14 period of trade liberalization in Peru (a major beneficiary of trade integration), which allows for methodological improvements relative to similar studies. We find that districts competing with liberalized imports experienced significantly lower growth in consumption per capita despite some emigration in response to increased import competition. This underscores the need to support the “losers of trade liberalization” even amidst high labor mobility.
Mr. Alejandro Izquierdo, Ward Brown, Mr. Brian Ames, and Shatayanan Devarajan

Abstract

This pamphlet excerpts a chapter on macroeconomic policy from the Poverty Reduction Policy Source book, a guide prepared by the World Bank and IMF to assist countries in developing and strengthening their poverty reduction strategies. It probes the relationship between macroeconomic policy matters, such as growth and inflation, and the fight against poverty, and explains how sound monetary and fiscal policies-key tools of the macroeconomist-can help to spur growth and ease poverty.