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  • Author: Steven Radelet
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The IMF began to play a prominent role in low-income countries in the late 1970s and 1980s when many countries faced overvalued exchange rates, growing budget deficits, high inflation, and low reserves. But times have changed, and many low-income countries no longer face these problems and do not need classic IMF programs. This paper explores options for the role of the IMF in well-performing low-income countries that no longer require IMF financing. It argues that in these countries the IMF should use more non-funded programs, and it should play a much less dominant role in overall conditionality. These countries should be able to focus more on achieving high-priority development goals that are outside the expertise of the IMF, such as in health, water, education, private sector development, and agriculture. While playing a less prominent role, the Fund should continue to be engaged in helping countries to maintain an appropriate macroeconomic framework. For some countries, a non-funded program like the new Policy Support Instrument (PSI) would be appropriate, while others could shift further to a program of surveillance and monitoring. In well-performing countries the Fund should provide public ratings on macroeconomic policy, ideally fully incorporated into the World Bank's CPIA rating system.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, Politics
  • Author: David Roodman, Scott Standley
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Researchers have written hundreds of papers on the causes and consequences of official foreign aid, while paying almost no attention to private overseas giving, by individuals, universities, foundations, and corporations. Yet private giving is significant—some $15.5 billion/year, compared to more than $60 billion/year in public giving—and is in no small part an outcome of public policy. In most rich countries, tax deductions and credits lower the “price” of charity to donors. And governments with low tax revenue/GDP ratios leave more money in private pockets for private charity. To correct the near-complete lack of information on this de facto aid policy, we survey officials of 21 donor nations on the use of tax incentives to promote private charity. From the results, we develop an index of the overall incentive for private charity, expressed as a percentage increase over the hypothetical giving level absent incentives. France's tax code creates the largest price incentive while those of Austria, Finland, and Sweden offer none. Factoring in the income effect of the tax ratio, Australia, Ireland, Germany, and the United States move to the top, with combined price and income effects sufficient to double private giving. As a result, tax policy appears to have nearly doubled private overseas giving from donor countries in 2003, from a counterfactual $8.0 billion. Two-thirds of the $7.5 billion increase occurred in the United States. Of that, nearly 40% appears to be U.S. charity to Israel. According to 21-country scatter plots, countries with lower church attendance and more faith in the national legislature have lower taxes (stronger income effect), but average levels of targeted tax incentives. Income (GDP/capita) does correlate with private overseas aid/capita, but also with public aid/capita, so that the two aid flows are complementary in magnitude.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Humanitarian Aid, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Finland, Germany, Australia, Sweden, Ireland, Austria
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Openness is not necessarily good for the poor. Reducing trade protection has not brought growth to today's poorest countries, and open capital markets have not been good for the poorest households in emerging market economies. In this paper I present evidence on these two points. First, countries highly dependent on primary exports two decades ago, despite their substantial engagement in trade and a marked decline in their tariff rates in the 1990s, have failed to grow. Second, within high-debt emerging market economies the financial crises of the last decade, whether induced by domestic policy problems or global contagion, have been especially costly for the poor (in welfare terms if not in terms of absolute income losses). I discuss the asymmetries in the global economy that help explain why countries and people cannot always compete on equal terms on the “level playing field” of the global economy.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Poverty, Financial Crisis
  • Author: Owen Barder, Ethan Yeh
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: How can the international community save more children's lives faster and more effectively in the 21st century? This Working Paper analyzes the extent to which “frontloading” and predictable vaccine funding, as proposed by the International Finance Facility for Immunization (IFFIm), is more effective in impacting vaccine coverage than spending vaccine funds equally throughout the lives of projects. The IFFIm is an initiative of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and supported by the governments of the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Italy, Spain and Norway. An initial IFFIm investment of $4 billion is expected to prevent 5 million child deaths by 2015, and more than 5 million future adult deaths. Using a stylized model, the authors quantify the positive and negative effects of predictable vaccine funds and frontloading, and finds IFFIm's approach can increase the impact of vaccine coverage by 22%. This is because stable and long-term financing allows vaccine manufacturers and countries to plan for long periods of time, knowing that resources will be available. Front-loading helps to reduce the spread of disease and to immunize large groups of people faster.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Human Welfare, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Norway, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden
  • Author: Theodore H. Moran
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: How effective are G-8 and OECD efforts to combat bribery and corrupt payments when multinational companies bid on concessions in the developing world? Have the rich countries – and the United States, in particular – done what is necessary to restrain multinational investors from paying off daughters of Presidents and cronies of Ministers to secure favors for their activities?
  • Topic: International Relations, Corruption, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall, Kemal Derviş
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: A number of high-debt emerging-market economies face structural, long-term debt problems that tend to keep their growth rates low, that impart an unequalizing bias to the growth process, that severely constrain social spending and human development, and that make them vulnerable to capital flow reversals. Unless the nature and pace of growth can be improved in these lower-middle income countries, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are unlikely to be met either in many of these countries, or globally. These high-debt emerging-market economies face an impossible choice between draconian and never-ending fiscal austerity, or crisis and a “debt event.” Both “bitter pills" impose high social and economic costs.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Debt, Economics, International Organization
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Openness is not necessarily good for the poor. Reducing trade protection has not brought growth to today's poorest countries, and open capital markets have not been good for the poorest households in emerging market economies. In this paper I present evidence on these two points. First, countries highly dependent on primary exports two decades ago, despite their substantial engagement in trade and a marked decline in their tariff rates in the 1990s, have failed to grow. Second, within high-debt emerging market economies the financial crises of the last decade, whether induced by domestic policy problems or global contagion, have been especially costly for the poor (in welfare terms if not in terms of absolute income losses). I discuss the asymmetries in the global economy that help explain why countries and people cannot always compete on equal terms on the “level playing field” of the global economy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Globalization, Political Economy
  • Author: John Nellis
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In the last 25 years many thousands of formerly state-owned and operated firms have been privatized in developing and transition countries, generating over $400 billion (US) in sales proceeds. In addition, thousands of firms have been transferred by privatization processes in which no money was raised (though a surprising number of state-owned firms remain in these regions). The vast majority of economic studies praise privatization's positive impact at the level of the firm, as well as its positive macroeconomic and welfare contributions. Moreover, contrary to popular conception, privatization has not contributed to maldistribution of income or increased poverty——at least in the best-studied Latin American cases. In sum, the technical picture is generally positive. Nonetheless, public opinion in the less developed world is generally suspicious of, and often hostile to, privatization. A good part of the problem is that privatization has proven harder to launch, and is more likely to produce errant results, in low-income, institutionally weak states, particularly in the most important infrastructure sectors. Privatization is hard to sell politically; it has become a lightning rod and handy scapegoat for all discontent related to liberalization and globalization. What is needed are reform mechanisms that give incentives and comfort to reputable private investors, that create and sustain the policy and regulatory institutions that make governments competent and honest partners with the private operators, while at the same time protecting consumers, particularly the most disadvantaged, from abuse.</p
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Political Economy, Privatization
  • Political Geography: Latin America