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Hans P. Binswanger

This paper discusses quantitative indicators that measure such macroeconomic variables as the growth of national product, inflation. The importance of considering several indicators in a dynamic context becomes particularly relevant during periods when needed economic and financial adjustment measures are undertaken. Rationales given for maintaining negative real interest rates in developing countries range from keeping down the cost of servicing the public sector’s debt, or of investment, to avoiding the consequences of other policies.

Mr. Robert P Flood

In this paper we examine compensation schemes that prevent a threat of secession by any of a country’s regions. We prove that, under quite general assumptions on the distribution of citizens’ preferences, there exist transfer schemes that are secession-proof. Moreover, we show that these compensation schemes entail a degree of partial equalization among regions: the gap between advantaged regions and disadvantaged regions has to be reduced but it should never be completely eliminated. We demonstrate that in the case of a uniform distribution of the nation’s citizens, the secession-proof conditions generate the 50 percent compensation rule for disadvantaged regions. [JEL D70, H20, H73]

Gunnar S. Eskeland

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper highlights that important changes have been made in the World Bank’s management systems since Mr. A. W. Clausen became President in July 1981. The changes reflect Mr. Clausen’s belief that there needs to be a more collegial approach to decision making and greater delegation of authority. The aim is that the World Bank should become more efficient and its activities should be more responsive to its clients’ needs. A Managing Committee was also established to take decisions on all key issues facing the World Bank.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

Shu-Chin Yang and Samuel Lipkowitz

This paper examines the importance of national planning for economic development of a country. The paper highlights that when World War II began, Soviet Russia was the only country engaged in systematic development planning, and then only since 1929, when its First Five-Year Plan was approved. At the end of the War, Asian countries that either had, or were about to, become independent, embraced planning to a much greater extent than countries in any other region.

Fred Hirsch, Vincent W. Hogg, and George C. Zaidan

This paper focuses on telecommunication development in Ethiopia. The paper highlights that there are now over 20,000 telephones in Addis Ababa (in 1969), but the demand for service still exceeds the supply. About 800 installation requests are received each quarter; of these, 600 can be fulfilled. Ethiopia’s annual telephone growth rate has averaged 17 percent over the past six years. Though long-distance lines have been expanded by 125 percent since the early 1950s, the interurban network between Addis Ababa and the rest of the country is seriously overloaded.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper presents the views of Michel Camdessus, Managing Director of the IMF, on how the IMF can face new challenges. Camdessus believes that the key responsibility for resolving debt difficulties lies with the indebted countries themselves. They need to be more resolute in adopting and implementing sound macroeconomic policies and bold structural reforms. Camdessus states that the IMF has available US$12 billion to support adjustment in the low-income countries through the structural adjustment facility and the enhanced structural adjustment facility.

Mr. Paul Collier

Africa's Middle-Class Motor finds growing evidence that a recent resurgence in the continent's economic well-being has staying power. In his overview article, Harvard professor Calestous Juma says the emphasis for too long has been on eradicating poverty through aid rather than promoting prosperity through improved infrastructure, education, entrepreneurship, and trade. That is now changing: there is a growing emphasis on policies that produce a middle class. The new African middle class may not have the buying power of a Western middle class but it demands enough goods and services to support stronger economic growth, which, as IMF African Department head Antoinette Sayeh points out, in turn helps the poorest members of society. Oxford University economist Paul Collier discusses a crucial component of Africa's needed infrastructure: railways. It is a continent eminently suited to rail, development of which has been held back more by political than economic reasons. But even as sub-Saharan African thrives, its largest and most important economy, South Africa, has had an anemic performance in recent years. We also profile Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's colorful economic czar. "Picture This" mines current trends to predict what Africa will look like a half century from now and "Data Spotlight" looks at increased regional trade in Africa. Elsewhere, Cornell Professor Eswar Prasad, examines a global role reversal in which emerging, not advanced, economies are displaying resilience in the face of the global economic crisis. The University of Queensland's John Quiggin, who wrote Zombie Economics, examines whether it makes sense in many cases to sell public enterprises. Economists Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago and Rodney Ramcharan of the U.S. Federal Reserve find clues to current asset booms and busts in the behavior of U.S. farmland prices a century ago.