Items in this collection
PublicationFood and Agricultural Policy in Russia : Progress to Date and the Road Forward(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002-07) Csaki, Csaba; Nash, John; Matusevich, Vera; Kray, HolgerThe overall finding of this report is that much agricultural policy is made at the regional level, and here the explicit price, and trade policy distortions are significantly worse than at the federal level. The result is patchwork of inconsistent policies, that has fragmented the Russian national market. The most serious policy issues at the federal level, are in the legal framework, the continued state domination of some markets, and, the administration of limited subsidies, in ways that undermine market development. A major problem is that large farms face soft budget constraints, with tolerance of non-payment of debt, resulting in an increasing debt burden, little incentive for true restructuring, and an uneven playing field with respect to the private sector. The government recently addressed the issue of farm insolvency, through the Resolution on Agricultural Debt Restructuring, and, a fundamental approach to this problem is being elaborated in the draft Law on Financial Rehabilitation of Agricultural Enterprises. But the key to giving enterprises an incentive to participate in real restructuring, will be to enforce sanctions - including bankruptcy procedures, and foreclosure - if enterprises fail to comply with the terms, and measures developed by creditors, and investors, as part of the restructuring procedures. A supportive environment of private individual farming, and private market development should be created, by revamping agricultural support policies, that halt public procurement at federal, and regional levels; that administer all subsidies to producers, by some incentive-neutral mechanism, not dependent on input usage, or output; and, where input, or credit subsidies continue, if administered by private channels on a competitive basis, not through state-owned, or monopoly suppliers. PublicationStructural Adjustment in the Transition : Case Studies from Albania, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyz Republic, and Moldova(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002-01) Siegelbaum, Paul J.; Sherif, Khaled; Borish, Michael; Clarke, GeorgeThe study reviews the performance of four transition countries - Albania, Azerbaijan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Moldova - in the areas of private, and financial sector development, identifying both their achievements, and challenges, to extract beneficial reform efforts, and alternative approaches, setting the pace for sustainable growth. These countries were selected because they are among the poorest in the region, whose problems are seemingly intractable, and have been largely detached from the international marketplace until the transition began. Thus, in terms of history, resource endowment, and proximity to markets they are viewed as "late reformers" in economic development, and competitiveness, despite policy reforms. Enterprise arrears, and soft budget constraints have been a significant problem in many transition economies, more often than not, manifested as some fiscal tightening occurred to offset budget constraints. Hence, a core challenge of the transition is to reduce the role of government from all encompassing presence, towards a professionally managed model, and one which provides high service delivery, strengthens civil institutions, and plays an effective regulatory role in a market economy. This requires improved financial discipline, reasonable fiscal policy, and structural adjustment, while privatization that promotes concentrated outsider ownership, and foreign participation, should be favored. PublicationServices Trade in the Balkans(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002) Michalopoulos, Constantine; Panousopoulos, VasileiosThis study aims at providing an overview of policies affecting services trade in seven countries of the Balkan region, and stresses the growing importance of services trade. The service sectors, particularly tourism and transport, play an important role in the economies of the Balkan countries. The paper finds that, on average, the countries involved, are committed to a liberal trade regime for services, and that they have made more commitments to liberalize services in the World Trade Organization (WTO) than developing countries at comparable levels of development. For the future, the paper encourages further liberalization at the regional level, on a Most Favoured Nation (MFN) basis, as well as policy harmonization with the European Union. PublicationGenerating Public Sector Resources to Finance Sustainable Development : Revenue and Incentive Effects(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002) Pagiola, Stefano; Martin-Hurtado, Roberto; Shyamsundar, Priya; Mani, Muthukumara; Silva, PatriciaThe paper discusses how developing countries can generate some of the resources they need for sustainable development. Developing country government already spend significant amounts of resources on a variety of activities, but the evidence suggests that sometimes, there is substantial scope for them to generate additional resources, and most importantly perhaps, to free substantial amounts of resources which are currently being used inefficiently. The paper attempts at setting the scope on the magnitude of resources that might be generated, or freed by a variety of public sector actions. It begins by examining the potential to reform existing policies which are not only costly, but often unsustainable, and environmentally damaging. Then, it reviews means for generating new financial flows, capturing greater share of rents from natural resources, and instituting "green" levies. Lessons suggest as a potential source of additional revenues, the reform of subsidies, making sub-sectors financially sustainable, reforms which in turn reduce environmental damage, but considering reform policies that would not inadvertently harm the poor. This requires political will, good governance, capacity building, and investment. PublicationEuropean Integration and Income Convergence : Lessons for Central and Eastern European Countries(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001-08) Martin, Carmela; Velazquez, Francisco J.; Funck, BernardThe prospect of enlarging the European Union (EU) to Central and Eastern European countries with income levels far below those of present members, questions how, and when the candidates' aspiration to converge towards EU standards of living, could possibly by fulfilled. To address these questions, this paper seeks to assess of the convergence experience of the four less developed EU members, i.e., Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and Greece, after joining the EU, and, to explore what lessons can be learned from that experience. The discussion suggests that, while theoretically possible, there is little empirical reason to fear that European integration would cause economies to diverge. Rather than being spontaneous, however, real convergence would seem to depend crucially, on the capacity of countries to tap international technological spillovers, particularly through foreign direct investment. Macroeconomic stability, effective competition on goods, and factor markets, and, a good human capital endowment are essential to harness benefits. Nonetheless, lingering worries about the possibility that integration would lead to real divergence between countries, or regions of Europe, has led to the creation of large transfers under the EU's Regional Policy. Pending more conclusive evidence of their effectiveness, the candidate countries would seem wise to put greater store by those domestic policies, than by EU grants to fuel their convergence. PublicationKosovo : Economic and Social Reforms for Peace and Reconciliation(Washington, DC, 2001-05) World BankThe report discusses the principal economic, and social reform policy tasks, Kosovo is facing, following the decade-long losses due to civic exclusion of a major part of its ethnic population, the absence of investments, and the neglect of physical, and human capital, a period which culminated in the 1999 conflict. It intends to inform on the framework of the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo, i.e., the consolidation of peace, by fostering social reconciliation, towards achieving sustainable economic growth in the province. The key challenges to the political economy address: 1) the formulation of a sustainable budget, increasingly financed through local taxation, hence, with reduced reliance on external donor support. Fiscal institutions need to be developed to ensure efficient public spending; 2) the establishment of trade liberalization, and a customs regime, to increase the potential for growth, and exports, allowing as well to benefit from the arrangements fostered by the Stability Pact, and the European Union; 3) the use of hard currency for internal transactions, and savings, and, the development of a strategy for banking sector development; and, 4) the creation of a reformed framework to encourage growth, by stimulating private enterprise development. Moreover, three aspects of social policy call for: an education policy at par with competitor countries; health policy that strengthens health care delivery, and addresses the effects of recent social traumas; and, social protection regarding a highly vulnerable population. PublicationThe Challenge of Rural Developments in the EU Accession Countries : Third World Bank/FAO EU Accession Workshop, Sofia, Bulgaria, June 17-20, 2000(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001-05) Csaki, Csaba; Lerman, ZviThis report examines the reforms and policy changes necessary in the rural section of the ten countries that have started the accession process for eventual membership in the European Union (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia). The papers in this report are selected from the presentations at the Third World Bank/FAO EU Accession Workshop held in Sofia, Bulgaria, on June 17-20, 2000, and are organized around four topics: 1) Defining the concepts of rural development-options for EU accession candidate countries; 2) Rural development in the European Union; 3) Rural development in Central and Eastern Europe; and 4) International experiences and the role of international organizations in supporting rural development in the EU accession countries. PublicationFinancial Markets, Credit Constraints, and Investment in Rural Romania(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001-04) Chaves, Rodrigo A.; Sanchez, Susana; Schor, Saul; Tesliuc, EmilThe report assesses the performance of financial markets in rural areas of Romania, based on three - rural household, rural enterprise, and financial intermediary - surveys, carried out in 1998, and other official data covering 1997. The study finds that rural financial markets perform rather poorly in three key dimensions: the degree of access to financial services by rural economic agents (enterprises and households) is very limited; this limited access hinders the ability of these agents to take advantage of the investment opportunities available in rural areas; and, these markets failed to allocate flows of credit to those agents with the most profitable investment opportunities. This poor performance is caused by an unfortunate combination of short term circumstances, structural factors, and government policies, and interventions. In particular, the degree of access to credit services by rural agents is very low, because several factors have combined, to weaken both the supply of, and demand for rural credit. The report suggests a detailed government strategy to correct the observed shortcomings of rural financial markets, and identifies new challenges likely to appear. Moreover, the Government could assist in increasing the availability of credit, by improving policies in financial markets, legal and regulatory framework, and, the ability of the financial sector to provide retail financial services. PublicationPrivate Infrastructure in East Asia : Lessons Learned in the Aftermath of the Crisis(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001-04) Baietti, AldoPrivate participation in infrastructure has taken two distinct forms in the developing world. The first model, applied primarily in Latin America, focuses on privatization of existing infrastructure assets. The second, applied largely in East Asia, focuses on retaining existing assets in the public sector but seeking private sector involvement to augment capacity through new greenfield investments. The financial crisis that emerged in East Asia in mid-1997 threatened to undermine much of the progress the region had made in applying this second model to mobilize private investment and financing for infrastructure. This report describes the background of the 1997 financial crisis in East Asia and its impact on private investment in the region's infrastructure. It then analyzes lessons learned in the aftermath of the crisis in six countries--Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam--and explores how these countries can respond to the new challenges. PublicationThe Development of Electricity Markets in the Euro-Mediterranean Area : Trends and Prospects for Liberalization and Regional Integration(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001-03) Muller-Jentsch, DanielThe main objective of this document is to map key policy issues that need to be addressed to successfully implement energy sector reform at the national, and regional levels, and, provides an overview of global, European, and Mediterranean trends, aiming at facilitating the dissemination of best practices. Chapter I describes international best practices in the design of legal, regulatory, and institutional sector framework, which include corporatization, and restructuring of state-owned energy utilities; separation of regulatory and operational functions, by creating coherent regulatory frameworks, establishing independent regulators, and promoting competition; engaging the electricity industry into generation, transmission, distribution, and trade; introduction of competition in generation, and trade, and, in the regulation of monopolistic activities; promotion of private participation; and, reduction of subsidies, and balance of tariffs. Chapters II and III examine power sector reform in the European Union (EU), and power sector policies of the Mediterranean partners, reviewing liberalization, regulatory institutions, and the development of electricity markets, and power trading in the EU. It specifies that despite recent progress, the main structural flaw of energy reform in the Mediterranean region, has been the lack of liberalization, and effective regulation, contrasting sharply with EU reforms, where the focus for electricity, and gas has been the introduction of competition. Chapter IV proposes an agenda for regional change, through sector reforms, promotion of energy policy, economic analysis, and interconnection, through technical assistance, and financial support, to create integrated, competitive cross-borders for power markets.