Items in this collection
PublicationInstitutional Elements of Tax Design and Reform(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2003-01) McLaren, John; McLaren, JohnThis is a collection of papers that study the constraints on fiscal systems, imposed by problems of institutions, administration, and incentives in developing, and post-Socialist economies. Chapter two focuses on the administration of indirect taxation, and provides a case study of indirect taxation in Tanzania. This shows how evasion can be documented, and quantified, through a case study that looks at a particular type of reform, aimed at curbing evasion: franchising, or privatizing the right to tax, which has been tried in several Tanzanian towns as a way of collecting vendor fees, for access to a public market. Chapter three is a theoretical study of evasion under a value-added tax (VAT), and the inefficiencies it can create. Chapter four studies the fiscal constraints within the federal politics of Russia, while Chapters five and six examine case studies (India) in fiscal federalism, in which the determination of fiscal outcomes is - to a considerable degree - a matter of bargaining between political entities in the center, and in the periphery. In both cases, it appears that large-scale distortions, away from an ideal tax system, emerge as a result, suggesting corruption can be fought by increasing functional specialization within a tax bureaucracy. The last chapter looks at the problem of opportunistic taxation, particularly regarding the African context, and studies various ways in which the problem can be alleviated. PublicationExpenditure Policies Toward EU Accession(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2003) Funck, Bernard; Funck, BernardThe report discusses the set of public expenditure policies that might be conducive to rapid growth, and convergence among Central and Eastern European countries. It was left to others' complementary contributions, to discuss two other key dimensions of expenditure reforms: the overall macroeconomic framework in which they take place, and to which they contribute, and, the institutional and political economy conditions under which successful reform strategies can be designed, find political support, and be implemented. In this report, the authors seek to take stock of the countries' own public expenditure policy objectives, and to distill the best practices and lessons learned in the design of expenditure reforms within those countries. And, the authors conclude that the general thrust of the expenditure strategies candidate countries have put forward, in their (European Union) pre-accession economic programs, appears both appropriate, and at least theoretically feasible. The report highlights ways in which key expenditure programs could be redirected to be more fully supportive of growth objectives, as well as the factors related to a country's political economy, and to the institutional framework of public resource management, which will undoubtedly play a determining role in framing what actual policy choices will eventually be made. PublicationPoverty and Ethnicity : A Cross-Country Study of ROMA Poverty in Central Europe(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002-11) Revenga, Ana; Tracy, William MartinROMA are the main poverty risk groups in many of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. However, information on their living conditions, and the characteristics of their poverty is scarce, fragmented, and often anecdotal. This paper analyzes data from a new cross-country household survey, conducted by the Center for Comparative Research, at Yale University. The survey is the first of its kind which addresses the ethnic dimension of poverty across countries, covering Roma in Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania. The paper finds that welfare among Roma households is significantly lower than that of non-Roma, in terms of both material deprivation (consumption and income), and other measures of deprivation, including housing status, education levels, and employment opportunities. Multivariate analysis confirm that, controlling for other household characteristics, there is a strong negative association between Roma ethnicity, and welfare. A large part of this association appears to be due to differences in endowments, and opportunities, but there is also an important component that is "structural". This component may reflect the influence of past, and present discrimination, exclusion, and cultural factors which may affect access to public services, e.g., through language barriers. 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. PublicationDoes Eurosclerosis Matter? Institutional Reform and Labor Market Performance in Central and Eastern Europe(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002) Riboud, Michelle; Sánchez-Páramo, CarolinaThis paper examines the labor market dynamics of six CEE countries over the last 10 years, paying special attention to the nature of labor market institutions these countries have adopted and their impact on labor market performance. This paper finds that, compared to EU countries, CEE countries fall in the "middle" of the flexibility scale regarding their employment protection legislation. While the effect of labor market institutions is hard to uncover, it should not be disregarded and they are likely to play an important role in the coming years. PublicationSustainable Amazon : Limitations and Opportunities for Rural Development(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002) Schneider, Robert R.; Arima, Eugenio; Verissimo, Adalberto; Souza, Carlos, Jr.; Barreto, PauloThe report contributes to the debate surrounding land use in the Brazilian Amazon. It sets the context by reviewing the evidence concerning the deleterious effect of increasing levels of rainfall on agricultural settlement, and productivity. Next, it compares the economic future of an Amazonian community, under the traditional "predatory logging followed by ranching" model, and under sustainable logging. Last, the authors investigate the potential to create a system of national forests. The authors make four conclusions: 1) they demonstrate that increasing levels of rainfall, seriously undermine agricultural productivity, and sustainability. At the highest extreme, in the 45 percent of the Amazon with annual rainfall of over 2,200 mm, only forestry, and possibly some palm crops, are likely to be economically viable; 2) the authors assert that in this area of the Amazon, and much of the transition area (rainfall between 1,800 mm and 2,200 mm), sustainable forestry would provide more stable communities, and a higher standard of living than agriculture; 3) the authors conclude that regulatory competition, and a short local political time horizon, prevent sustainable forestry from being adapted, despite its better long-run performance; and, 4) some 10 percent of the Amazon could be put into national forests, in a way that would both meet current demand for Brazilian Amazonian timber, and reinforce the Amazon park system, which is expected to fully conserve 10 percent of the Brazilian Amazon. PublicationForest Concession Policies and Revenue Systems : Country Experience and Policy Changes for Sustainable Tropical Forestry(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002) Gray, John A.Forest concessions have been an important element of forestry, and forest management in many countries, including many developing countries. More often than not, the concessions experience of these countries has not been successful, and, improving their performance is not likely to be popular. Therefore, if sustainable management if tropical forests is to be achieved, and deforestation brought under control, it may be necessary to strengthen the on-the-ground performance of existing forest concessions, and to control the allocation of new concessions. The forest concessions discussed in this study involve both forest utilization contracts, and forest management services contracts. Part one of the study examines the forest concessions experience on public lands, with a focus on natural forests in developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Experiences provide the basis for proposals to strengthen the allocation of forest concessions, and improve their forest, and environmental management. Economic, and procedural incentives for improved forest management performance are introduced, as are proposals to strengthen monitoring, supervision, and compliance with contract terms. Part two evaluates forest revenue systems, and presents proposals for revised forest fees, designed to reflect the values of both the timber, and the concessions. Additional concessions suggest ways to ease the collection of fees, and to structure forest fees to provide economic incentives for concession management, and performance. PublicationCoping with the Cold : Heating Strategies for Eastern Europe and Central Asia's Urban Poor(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002) Lampietti, Julian A.Heating is a critical issue for the livelihoods of Eastern Europe and Central Asia's people. The region's gold climate, the legacy of central planning, and the drop in household incomes over the past 10 years, influence profoundly the design of heating strategies for the urban poor. This paper provides new insights into how much energy people demand for heating, and how much they pay for it. Recommendations are suggested on how to design policies, and investment planning, that would enable all people (poor and non-poor) to access clean, affordable heating. PublicationStructural Reforms in Southeastern Europe since the Kosovo Conflict(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002) Gressani, Daniela; Mitra, SaumyaThis paper attempts to describe and assess the achievements of the countries of South Eastern Europe - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Romania, and Federal Republic of Yugoslavia - in pursuing structural economic reforms in the period since the end of the Kosovo conflict. The paper concentrates on four key areas of structural reforms: a) public management and anti-corruption; b) creating a liberal environment for trade in goods and services; c) attracting foreign investments; and d) encouraging the growth of a private market based economy. Since the Kosovo conflict, the countries of Southeastern Europe have made encouraging progress in advancing structural reforms and preparing their economies for greater integration with Europe and the rest of the world with the aim of raising the rate of sustainable economic growth. But progress has been uneven across sectors and across countries. The gap in economic performance with respect to central Europe remains large and can be bridged only with determined reforms in creating the conditions for the formation and growth of private enterprises. Attention must also shift towards strengthening governance and fighting corruption. 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.