This paper highlights that despite unprecedented gains in living standards in some countries over the past few decades, poverty continues as a harsh reality in too much of the developing world. The causes lie in part with poor country governments that have not followed through on the policies and programs needed to accelerate growth and eradicate poverty. But they also reflect the uneven record of development assistance and protectionist trade policies and agricultural subsidies in industrial countries, which have dampened profitable investment and growth in the developing world.
The External Evaluation Group faced a very difficult task and has produced a document which raises all the relevant issues which should help the Board shape the future work of the IEO. While I agree with much of the Report, there are areas where I do not agree with the Group’s assessment and my reactions on these points are outlined below (page references indicated).
The Q&A in this issue features seven questions about policy options for emerging market countries (by Marcos Chamon, Chris Crowe, and Jun Il Kim); research summaries on “Does Trade and Financial Globalization Cause Income Inequality?” (by Chris Papageorgiou) and “The Current Account of Oil-Exporting Countries (by Irineu E. de Carvalho Filho); an article on the launch of the IMF’s new research journal, IMF Economic Review, and the contents of the upcoming IMF Staff Papers, which the new the new journal will succeed in 2010; an article on the upcoming Tenth Annual Jacques Polak Research Conference; a listing of visiting scholars at the IMF during July–September 2009; and listings of recent IMF Working Papers and Staff Position Notes.
IMF lending is generally conditional on specified policies and outcomes. These conditions usually are negotiated compromises between policies initially favored by the Fund and by the country's authorities. In some cases the authorities might be satisfied enough with the outcome to take responsibility for it ("own" it) even though it was not their original preference. In other cases, they might accept the outcome only to obtain financing, in which case weak commitment might lead to poor implementation. This paper reviews the theoretical basis for the importance of ownership, summarizes what is known about its empirical effects, and suggests a strategy for strengthening it.
The paper focuses on distributional consequences of macroeconomic adjustment. The preferences of economic agents over the level of the real exchange rate derived from standard models are monotonic, with agents favoring either an infinitely appreciated or depreciated rate. To generate less extreme preferences, a model is presented where appreciation would depress economic activity, while a large depreciation would hit the tradable sector by limiting the availability of labor, offsetting the favorable price effect. The model is in the spirit of the dependent economy model, but built on explicit microfoundations. The results can be used to analyze political economy aspects of macroeconomic adjustment.
Angana Banerji, Ms. Bergljot B Barkbu, Mr. James A John, Mr. Tidiane Kinda, Mr. Sergejs Saksonovs, Hanni Schoelermann, and Mr. Tao Wu
The momentum for structural reforms is waning in the euro area at a time when even faster progress is needed to boost productivity and growth, achieve real economic convergence, and improve the resilience of the monetary union. What can the European Union (EU) institutions do to bridge this divide? This paper argues for greater simplicity, transparency and accountability in the EU governance framework for structural reforms. Our three interrelated proposals—“outcome-based” benchmarking; better use of existing EU processes to strengthen oversight and reduce discretion; and improved financial incentives—could help advance reforms. Ex post monitoring by an independent EU-level “structural council” and ex ante policy innovation by national productivity councils could strengthen accountability and ownership. Deeper governance reforms should be considered in the medium-term with a view toward a greater EU role in promoting convergence.