Summary of WP/93/43: “On Improving Public Expenditure Policies for the Poor: Major Informational Requirements”

This compilation of summaries of Working Papers released during January-June 1993 is being issued as a part of the Working Paper series. It is designed to provide the reader with an overview of the research work performed by the staff during the period. Authors of Working Papers are normally staff members of the Fund or consultants, although on occasion outside authors may collaborate with a staff member in writing a paper. The views expressed in the Working Papers or their summaries are, however, those of the authors and should not necessarily be interpreted as representing the views of the Fund. Copies of individual Working Papers and information on subscriptions to the annual series of Working Papers may be obtained from IMF Publication Services, International Monetary Fund, 700 19th Street, Washington, D.C. 20431. Telephone: (202) 623-7430 Telefax: (202) 623-7201

Abstract

This compilation of summaries of Working Papers released during January-June 1993 is being issued as a part of the Working Paper series. It is designed to provide the reader with an overview of the research work performed by the staff during the period. Authors of Working Papers are normally staff members of the Fund or consultants, although on occasion outside authors may collaborate with a staff member in writing a paper. The views expressed in the Working Papers or their summaries are, however, those of the authors and should not necessarily be interpreted as representing the views of the Fund. Copies of individual Working Papers and information on subscriptions to the annual series of Working Papers may be obtained from IMF Publication Services, International Monetary Fund, 700 19th Street, Washington, D.C. 20431. Telephone: (202) 623-7430 Telefax: (202) 623-7201

Increasing budgetary constraints in many countries, and a recognition that unproductive expenditures contribute to macroeconomic instability, have made it necessary to reassess the composition of public expenditures. Evaluation criteria need to incorporate the scope of public sector activities, overall revenue constraints, the effects of public expenditures on sustainable growth, and poverty reduction and distributional concerns.

This paper briefly reviews some of the theoretical underpinnings of this approach, which permits the assessment of trade-offs--both within and across sectors--and highlights the major data requirements to make the approach operational. A survey of the existing cross-country data sets for selected African countries reveals a dearth of household data that would permit an evaluation of the effects of policies on the poor and also of appropriate functional classifications of major expenditure items at various levels of government. There is also a summary of the types of relevant data that might be available from various international agencies.

More effective policymaking would thus require improvements in methods as well as in the related information base. The role of the major international agencies in supporting the improvements in policymaking is highlighted.

Working Paper Summaries (WP/93/1 - WP/93/54)
Author: International Monetary Fund