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  • Publication
    Until Debt Do Us Part : Subnational Debt, Insolvency, and Markets
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2013-02-13) Canuto, Otaviano; Canuto, Otaviano; Liu, Lili
    With decentralization and urbanization, the debts of state and local governments and of quasi-public agencies have grown in importance. Rapid urbanization in developing countries requires large-scale infrastructure financing to help absorb influxes of rural populations. Borrowing enables state and local governments to capture the benefits of major capital investments immediately and to finance infrastructure more equitably across multiple generations of service users. With debt comes the risk of insolvency. Subnational debt crises have reoccurred in both developed and developing countries. Restructuring debt and ensuring its sustainability confront moral hazard and fiscal incentives in a multilevel government system; individual subnational governments might free-ride common resources, and public officials at all levels might shift the cost of excessive borrowing to future generations. This book brings together the reform experiences of emerging economies and developed countries. Written by leading practitioners and experts in public finance in the context of multilevel government systems, the book examines the interaction of markets, regulators, subnational borrowers, creditors, national governments, taxpayers, ex-ante rules, and ex-post insolvency systems in the quest for subnational fiscal discipline. Such a quest is intertwined with a country’s historical, political, and economic context. The formal legal framework interacts with political reality to influence the dynamics of and incentives for reform. Often, the resolution of a subnational debt crisis unfolds in the context of macroeconomic stabilization and structural reforms. The book includes reforms that have not been covered by previous literature, such as those of China, Colombia, France, Hungary, Mexico, and South Africa. The book also presents a comprehensive review of how the United States developed its debt market for state and local local governments through a series of reforms that are path dependent, including the reforms and lessons learned following state defaults in the 1840s and the debates that shaped the enactment of Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code in 1937. Looking forward, pressures on subnational finance are likely to continue—from the fragility of global recovery, the potentially higher cost of capital, refinancing risks, and sovereign risks. This book is essential reading for anyone wanting to know the challenges and reform options in debt restructuring, insolvency frameworks, and public debt market development.
  • Publication
    From Inside Brazil : Development in a Land of Contrasts
    (Washington, DC: World Bank and Stanford University Press, 2006) Thomas, Vinod
    The overarching theme of the book is development in a land of contrasts. There have been large economic, social, and political changes. The mass of society is far more expressive and politically involved today. In 1945, the country had 7.4 million voters, about 11 percent of the population. Today it has 120 million voters, or 67 percent of the population. The economy has been modernized, the capitalist ethos spread across regions, mass communication reached every part of the country, and basic education (though of varying quality) has become almost universal. Poverty has been reduced, but inequality remains extremely high. Moreover, the country has become more violent and prone to disorder. Meanwhile, the state has become weaker and less present where it should be present (in the slums and urban fringes), and more present where it should not be. The author captures remarkably well the transformations of the 1990s, when Brazil deepened its insertion into the global economy, opening to imports and to foreign direct investment on the one hand, and increasing its competitiveness on the other. This led to a great expansion of exports, and to the return of large trade surpluses, increasing considerably the share of trade in the country's gross domestic product. However, there is an unfinished agenda with two main imperatives. The first is the need to enter a new and sustainable growth cycle; the second concern is the reform agenda, especially the economic and institutional reforms that are highlighted by this book. Finally, social and environmental issues must remain a high priority.
  • Publication
    Brazil : Equitable, Competitive, Sustainable--Contributions for Debate
    (Washington, DC, 2004) World Bank
    This volume presents a set of Policy Notes prepared by the World Bank's Brazil Team with partners during 2002 as a contribution for the debate of policies by the new federal and state governments elected in October 2002. The objectives of making these Policy Notes available to a broader audience is twofold. It could contribute to the discussion in Brazil and elsewhere about public policies to be formulated by the Brazilian governments for the period 2003-2006, and beyond. It could also serve as a vehicle to exchange lessons of experience from Brazil to the rest of the world and vice versa. Since the Policy Notes were written for an incoming administration that would be well familiar with recent developments in Brazil, they do not attempt a comprehensive assessment of Brazil's impressive recent progress but rather focus on the challenges in areas where World Bank and related partner experience appears relevant. The Policy Notes were prepared during 2002, a period during which economic uncertainties mounted ahead of the presidential elections of October 2002. They do not reflect information on the important policy discussions and developments after the elections. These notes do not deal with all policy issues of relevance for Brazil. Even on those issues which are addressed, the assessment may be focused on specific aspects. The selection of topics and the emphasis in the Policy Notes are, thus, driven by policy priorities and their timeliness. The Policy Notes do not attempt to present a comprehensive policy agenda; rather, they are meant to constitute timely contributions for discussions. The initial objective was to pull together findings of past World Bank Group studies, based on numerous other work by Brazilian and international authors, and experiences on Brazil, as well as relevant international experiences, and make them available to the new governments in a synthetic form.