Two possible tax policy strategies for the NIS are: (1) an optimal nondistortionary tax structure as a one-shot action; and (2) a structure with identifiable and clearly understood distortionary elements as a temporary phenomenon to close the fiscal gap. An assessment of NIS tax structures reveals that they conform to neither. They are rapidly acquiring complex features comprising multiple rates, exemptions, and other difficult-to administer properties, with uncertain ramifications for efficiency, equity, and the fiscal deficit. Steady--and perhaps prolonged--effort needs to be made if simple, broad-based, and revenue-productive tax structures are to be achieved. This is a Paper on Policy Analysis and Assessment and the author(s) would welcome any comments on the present text. Citations should refer to a Paper on Policy Analysis and Assessment of the International Monetary Fund, mentioning the author(s) and the date of issuance. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Fund.
This paper examines how institutional conditions in transition economies compare with those in the rest of the world using various indicators of governance. The focus is on the countries in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union but, when possible, transition countries, in Asia and Africa are also considered. The main findings are that transition economies, as a group, are no longer distinguishable from other economies, but at the same time, there are large differences in institutional performance within the group of transition economies. A formal cluster analysis is conducted in order to map transition economies into homogeneous groupings of countries. The results of this analysis highlight that transition economies are found at all clusters (from best to worst institutional performers) and also that a group of five countries, all of which are EU accession countries, appear to have “graduated”: when taking into account their level of income, their institutional conditions are no longer distinguishable from those in the most advanced industrialized countries.