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Miyoko Asai, Qiaoe Chen, Mr. Jiro Honda, Xingwei Hu, and Qianqian Zhang
This paper examines the role of structural fiscal policies to promote female labor force participation and reduce gender gaps in labor markets in 26 OECD countries from 2000 to 2019. As both female labor force participation and many explanatory/control variables clearly exhibit non-stationarity (potentially leading to spurious regression results), we employ a panel vector error-correction model, in contrast with most previous empirical studies on this matter. Our analyses confirm statistically significant positive impacts of government spending on (1) early childcare and education, (2) active labor market programs, and (3) unemployment benefits, all of which would help encourage women to enter the labor force, while (4) an increase in relative tax rate on second earner could have negative impact on female labor force participation.
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office


Capacity development (CD) is a key function of the IMF, aiming to assist its member countries develop their institutional and human capacity to design and implement sound macroeconomic and financial policies. CD has been provided to all IMF member countries at some point, although it is directed mainly toward low- and middle-income countries. CD represents about one-third of the IMF’s administrative budget, having expanded substantially in the past decade. This evaluation assesses how effective the IMF has been in meeting the CD needs and expectations of recipient countries, and the Fund’s institutional objectives for CD, during 2012-20. It also provides an initial review of how IMF CD adapted to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The evaluation finds that IMF CD was relevant, valued, and broadly effective. Recipients, donors, and the wider membership saw IMF CD as being of the highest technical quality in the Fund’s core areas of expertise and generally perceived that it had become better tailored to recipient needs and circumstances. Overall, Fund CD has supported member countries in building the institutional capacity, in a very wide range of country circumstances. The IMF has also put substantial effort into integrating CD with surveillance and programs, which has in general enhanced its overall engagement with member countries. While recognizing these achievements, the evaluation also identifies a number of important shortcomings and challenges. The evaluation includes recommendations to enhance the strategic framework for, and prioritization of, CD; information available to Executive Directors and opportunities to exercise their oversight role; the integration of CD with surveillance and programs, particularly in the context of programs; CD ownership and delivery; the monitoring and evaluation framework; the sustainability of the CD funding model; and HR policies and incentives to maintain and develop the expertise in the Fund’s core and newly emerging CD topics.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Liberia is a fragile, low-income country. Per-capita income remains about a third of the level prior to the civil wars during 1989-2003. After a bout of economic instability, prudent monetary and fiscal policies reduced inflation to just over 5 percent in 2021 and budgets are financed without recourse to central bank credit. Economic growth suffered first from macroeconomic instability and then from the COVID-19 pandemic. Growth rebounded to 5 percent in 2021 and, after a soft patch this year due to Russia’s war in Ukraine, should reach 5-6 percent in the medium term if Liberia taps its clear potential through persistent structural reforms and prudent policies. The government’s resolve will be tested in the runup to the general elections in September 2023.