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Books in Brief

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Published Date:
January 1991
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Books in Brief

Public Finance in Developing Countries

Vito Tanzi

Edward Elgar, Brookfield, VT. USA, 1990, v + 249 pp., $54.95.

This is a very readable and lively book. Tanzi’s wide exposure as Director of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department has helped shape many of his guidelines and principles, combining theory with a lot of practical experience. The 15 self-contained chapters, many of which have been published before, cover issues of public finance within a macroeconomic framework relevant to developing countries. Tanzi recognizes that often policies that are theoretically right may prove to be doubtful when applied. In fact, the outcome hardly resembles the initial idea. This implies that recommendations must take into account the limitations involved in implementation. The book is divided into three parts: Part 1 deals with the role of government in the economies of developing countries. Part 2 covers issues of stabilization and growth, highlighting the link between macroeconomic policies and the level of taxation. Part 3 focuses on issues of taxation and the requirements for successful tax reform. This is a highly useful addition to the literature in the field and will benefit both academics and policymakers.

The Economics of Natural Gas

De Anne Julius and Afsaneh Masnayekbi

Oxford University Press, New York, NY, USA, 1990, xiv + 177 pp., $49.

Natural gas has been discovered in over 50 developing countries, but is not being exploited at near its potential. At the same time, the development of natural gas has become increasingly attractive on economic grounds (with the new low capital cost and high energy efficiency turbine technology) and on environmental grounds (with much lower emissions than practical alternative fuels). There are a variety of reasons for the slow development of gas in developing countries. They revolve around complex issues relating to legislation, regulation, ownership, institutional structure, pricing, fiscal regimes, financing, information flows, etc. This book provides a comprehensive survey of these issues. It is mostly based on theoretical and case study work undertaken by the World Bank’s energy staff during the 1980s. Decisionmakers and analysts in need of a comprehensive but practical framework for addressing natural gas development issues in developing countries will find this book mandatory reading.

After the Wars

Anthony Lake and contributors

Reconstruction in Afghanistan, Indochina, Central America, Southern Africa, and the Horn of Africa

Transaction Publishers, Rutgers—The State University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA, 1991, x + 197 pp., $24.95 (paper $15.95).

This timely volume from the Overseas Development Council of the United States brings attention on the benumbing after effects of conflicts and the need for international efforts to rebuild war-torn economies within countries and devastated regions. The individual case studies provide graphic evidence of the damage to individual economies and the efforts made to revive them. They also highlight the strong economic undertones of political conflicts and emphasize need for coordinated external assistance, largely through currently established agencies, to sustain peace and help nations rebuild.

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Credits: Composition: Betty Maguire and Carol Greer, IMF Graphics Section. Art on pages 10, 18, 25, 28, 38: David Wisniewski. Charts’. Sanaa Elaroussi and In-Ok Yoon, IMF Graphics Section. World Bank photos: Ivan Andrews. IMF photos: Denio Zara and Padraic Hughes-Reid.

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