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Steven Radelet,, Michael Clemens,, and Mr. Rikhil Bhavnani

This paper explores why increased aid flows require economic policymakers to confront some specific issues. Ensuring that increased aid promotes growth and reduces poverty is certainly the most important task. Empirical studies offer only mild support for aid-boosting growth. However, one study suggests that once one excludes the aid flows aimed at political and humanitarian goals, a positive net effect is observed for the remaining aid focused on economic objectives. This paper also outlines the roles to be played by development partners for making the aid being properly utilized for boosting growth.

Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, Victor Ginsburgh, Mr. Shlomo Weber, Tim Harford, and Jeff Madrick

'Wising Up to the Costs of Aging' looks at how falling fertility and rising life expectancy have combined to threaten the ability of many countries to provide a decent standard of living for the old without imposing a crushing burden on the young. In our lead article, Ronald Lee and Andrew Mason say that while population aging in rich industrial countries as well as in some middle- and lower-income countries will challenge public and private budgets in many ways, a combination of reduced consumption, postponed retirement, increased asset holdings, and greater investment in human capital should make it possible to meet this challenge without catastrophic consequences. Neil Howe and Richard Jackson publish a fascinating ranking of which countries are best and worst prepared to meet the needs of the growing wave of retirees. We also have articles on a broad range of current topics, including Middle East unemployment, the economic repercussions of the earthquake and devastating tsunami in Japan, and banking in offshore financial centers such as the Cayman Islands. Carmen Reinhart and Jacob Kirkegaard look at how governments are finding ways to manipulate markets to hold down the cost of financing huge public debts, and, in Straight Talk, the IMF's Min Zhu talks about the long-term challenges now facing emerging markets. Prakash Loungani speaks to Nobel Prize winner George Akerlof, and we discuss with three other laureates-Michael Spence, Joseph Stiglitz, and Robert Solow-what the global economic crisis has taught us. Back to Basics explains economic models, and Picture This highlights the great variations in the cost of sending money back home.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper reviews the 1975 Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the IMF and the World Bank that were held in Washington, D.C., from September 1–5. The paper highlights that three separate but related themes dominated the discussion at the Annual Meetings. The first was the need to combat recession without aggravating inflation. The second was the immediate needs of developing countries in the present situation. And the third was the urgency of making further progress toward reform of the international monetary system.
Mr. Kevin Fletcher, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Duncan P Last, Mr. Gerd Schwartz, Mr. Shamsuddin Tareq, Mr. Richard I Allen, and Ms. Isabell Adenauer

Abstract

The international community has committed to scaling up aid and improving aid delivery to low-income countries to help them meet the Millennium Development Goals. Other "emerging" donors, public and private, are increasing their assistance, and debt-relief initiatives are creating space for new borrowing. Remittances to low-income countries have been on a precipitous rise, and many countries are benefiting from high commodity prices. Fiscal Management of Scaled-Up Aid explores approaches to the sound fiscal management that will be required to ensure effective and sustainable use of these flows. With a medium-term perspective and efficient use of resources in mind, this paper addresses questions that shape fiscal policy response to scaled-up aid. Drawing on IMF Fiscal Affairs Department technical assistance to member countries, it outlines factors that should be taken into account in preparing an action plan for public financial management reform and proposes specific measures that will assist countries in strengthening fiscal institutions.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
The COVID-19 pandemic erupted just as the government was beginning to implement wide-ranging fiscal, foreign exchange, structural, and governance measures under a Staff-Monitored Program (SMP). The authorities have reaffirmed their commitment to these reforms, but the impact of the crisis is generating balance of payments and fiscal gaps of 4 and 3 percent of GDP, respectively. In the near term, risks are primarily on the downside, especially if there is a widespread local outbreak of the virus. Papua New Guinea’s longer-term outlook remains positive, largely reflecting the likelihood of major resource sector projects.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
The Web edition of the IMF Survey is updated several times a week, and contains a wealth of articles about topical policy and economic issues in the news. Access the latest IMF research, read interviews, and listen to podcasts given by top IMF economists on important issues in the global economy. www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/home.aspx
Mr. Francesco Grigoli and Mr. Javier Kapsoli
Public health spending is low in emerging and developing economies relative to advanced economies and health outputs and outcomes need to be substantially improved. Simply increasing public expenditure in the health sector, however, may not significantly affect health outcomes if the efficiency of this spending is low. This paper quantifies the inefficiency of public health expenditure and the associated potential gains for emerging and developing economies using a stochastic frontier model that controls for the socioeconomic determinants of health, and provides country-specific estimates. The results suggest that African economies have the lowest efficiency. At current spending levels, they could boost life expectancy up to about five years if they followed best practices.
Miss Randa Sab and Mr. Stephen C. Smith
In the growth literature, evidence on income convergence is mixed. In the development literature, health and education indicators are also often used. This study examines whether health and education levels are converging across countries and calculates their convergence speed, using data from 100 countries during 1970–96. A 3SLS procedure is used in a joint analysis of human capital convergence. The results confirm that investments in education and health are closely linked. We find unconditional convergence for life expectancy and infant survival, and enrollment rates, on average and by gender; and conditional convergence for all human capital indicators, including class size.