The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
How should possible policy reforms and projects be assessed when prices give misleading signals? Revenues and costs at market prices then give distorted measures of social gains and losses and our appraisal should use social opportunity costs, or correctly defined, shadow prices. We show how shadow prices may be integrated into an analysis of tax and price reform, demonstrate the critical dependence of these prices on government policy, and analyze their relations with market prices. A conceptual framework for applied analysis is provided plus a detailed theoretical account of policy in a model with some fixed prices, rationing, and taxation.