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Can Debt Relief Boost Growth in Poor Countries?

by Benedict Clements Rina Bhattacharya Toan Quoc Nguyen

The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, launched in 1999 by the IMF and the World Bank, was the first coordinated effort by the international financial community to reduce the foreign debt of the world's poorest countries. It was based on the theory that economic growth in heavily indebted poor countries was being stifled by heavy debt burdens, making it virtually impossible for these countries to escape poverty. However, most of the empirical research on the effects of debt on growth has lumped together a diverse group of countries, and the literature on the countries' impact of debt on poor is scant. This pamphlet presents the findings of the authors' empirical research into the subject, analyzing the channels through which debt affects growth in low-income countries.

Economic Determinants of Government Subsidies

by Gerd Schwartz Benedict Clements Hugo Rodríguez

A report from the International Monetary Fund.

The Efficiency of Education Expenditure in Portugal1

by Benedict Clements

A report from the International Monetary Fund.

Energy Subsidy Reform: Lessons and Implications

by Sanjeev Gupta Stefania Fabrizio Benedict Clements David Coady Trevor Alleyne Carlo Sdralevich

Energy subsidies have wide-ranging economic consequences. Although they are aimed at protecting consumers, subsidies aggravate fiscal imbalances, crowd out priority public spending, and depress private investment, including in the energy sector. Subsidies also distort resource allocation by encouraging excessive energy consumption, artificially promoting capital-intensive industries, reducing incentives for investment in renewable energy, and accelerating the depletion of natural resources. Most subsidy benefits are captured by higher-income households, reinforcing inequality. Even future generations are affected through the damaging effects of increased energy consumption on global warming. This book provides (1) the most comprehensive estimates of energy subsidies currently available for 176 countries and (2) an analysis of 'how to do' energy subsidy reform, drawing on insights from 22 country case studies undertaken by the IMF staff and analyses carried out by other institutions.

Equitable and Sustainable Pensions: Challenges and Experience

by Sanjeev Gupta Benedict Clements Frank Eich

A report from the International Monetary Fund.

From Stimulus to Consolidation: Revenue and Expenditure Policies in Advanced and Emerging Economies

by Benedict Clements Victoria Perry Juan Toro

A staff team of the International Monetary Fund's Fiscal Affairs Department offers member countries a strategy for fiscal adjustment that can help support sustainable growth over the longer term. On the spending side, they suggest stabilizing pension and public health spending ratios to gross domestic product and reducing other outlays such as public wages, untargeted social spending, and subsidies. On the revenue side, they suggest reducing existing distortions in the tax system. There is no index. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)

Income Distribution and Social Expenditure in Brazil1

by Benedict Clements

A report from the International Monetary Fund.

Inequality and Fiscal Policy

by Sanjeev Gupta Michael Keen Ruud De Mooij Benedict Clements

Staff Discussion Notes showcase the latest policy-related analysis and research being developed by individual IMF staff and are published to elicit comment and to further debate. These papers are generally brief and written in nontechnical language, and so are aimed at a broad audience interested in economic policy issues. This Web-only series replaced Staff Position Notes in January 2011.

Is the PRGF Living Up to Expectations? An Assessment of Program Design

by Sanjeev Gupta Shamsuddin Tareq Gabriela Inchauste Mark Plant Benedict Clements Thomas Dorsey Emanuele Baldacci Nita Thacker

The creation of the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) in late 1999 represented the culmination of more than two years of internal and external reviews and IMF policy discussions on the assessment and transformation of the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF). The PRGF now functions as the IMF's principal instrument to support low-income countries in implementing their poverty reduction strategies. Targets and policies embodied in PRGF-supported programs should emerge from the country's own poverty reduction strategy, as laid out in its PRSP or Interim PRSP (I-PRSP). Key features which PRGF programs have in common were identified as follows: Broad participation and greater ownership; Embedding of the PRGF in the overall strategy for growth and poverty reduction; Budgets that are more pro-poor and pro-growth; Appropriate flexibility in fiscal targets ensured; More selective structural conditionality; Emphasis on measures to improve public resource management/accountability; Social impact analysis of major macroeconomic adjustments and structural reforms. The remainder of this paper provides an assessment of the extent to which PRGF-supported programs have implemented the individual key features.

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