World Bank Technical Papers

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Informal documents that present knowledge acquired through that Bank's operational experience. They contain material that is practical rather than theoretical and include state-of-the-art reports and how-to-do-it monographs. They can also concern matters that cut across sectoral lines, such as the environment and science and technology. This series was superseded by the World Bank Working Papers series in 2003 and the World Bank Studies series in 2010.

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  • Publication
    Institutional Elements of Tax Design and Reform
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2003-01) McLaren, John; McLaren, John
    This 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.
  • Publication
    Structural Reforms in Southeastern Europe since the Kosovo Conflict
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002) Gressani, Daniela; Mitra, Saumya
    This 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.
  • Publication
    The Current Regulatory Framework Governing Business in Bulgaria
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001-07) O'Brien, Thomas; Filipov, Christian
    The paper identifies the key elements of the regulatory environment for business in Bulgaria, to serve as a research guide, while recognizing that the rapid development of new legislative, and regulatory procedures, are greatly needed, largely to meet the European Union's (EU) legal, and regulatory standards. It describes business creation, with the Commercial Code providing much of the central, comprehensive regulation. Also, another route for business creation in the private sector has been offered through the privatization process of state-owned assets, and, the use of concessions can also be viewed as another route to the creation of private business. However, and although concession legislation sets an overall framework of reasonable adequacy, reports from practitioners in the marketplace reveal much remains to be done to forward this agenda. In regulating corporate operations, the stake of shareholders in the formation of corporate policy, reflects shared participation in the corporate capital base; thus to engender confidence in corporate management standards, and underpin the broadening of share ownership, priority actions should take place. Bulgarian competition law, follows EU doctrine, which penalizes companies for discriminatory behavior, monitored by the Commission on the Protection of Competition, with defined discretionary powers. The study further highlights accounting standards, investment channels, and the tax regime, suggesting priority actions for company transformation such as enhanced training for judges, and court administration procedures to rationalize the case load. Overall, recommendations include accurate drafting of primary legislation; quality improvement of secondary legislation, setting the pace for a timely implementation, as well as a more effective judicial system for corporate affairs, and services delivered by the public administration to businesses.
  • Publication
    Managing Catastrophic Disaster Risks Using Alternative Risk financing and Pooled Insurance Structures
    (2001-05) Pollner, John D.
    This report examines the constraints and opportunities in implementing a catastrophe insurance system which can resolve the key obstacles impeding broader implementation of a risk funding approach. The four main pillars in such a strategy involve: 1) strengthening insurance sector regulatory requirements and supervision; 2) establishing broad-based pooled catastrophe funding structures with efficient risk transfer tools; 3) promoting public insurance policies linked to programs for loss reduction in the uninsured sectors; and 4) strengthening the risk assessment and enforcement of structural measures such as zoning and building code compliance. The report is structured as follows: chapter 1 examines the characteristics of the global insurance and reinsurance market and its links with Caribbean insurers and policyholders Chapter 2 examines the domestic Caribbean insurance market structure and institutions, and their commercial practices Chapter 3 discusses how structural mitigation and vulnerability reduction measures can prove to be cost-effective investments that can dramatically reduce exposure risks on properties. Chapter 4 analyzes the modalities of risk transfer for potential financial losses. Chapter 5 demonstrates innovations being developed for catastrophe risk management. Chapter 6 examines risk management options. Chapter 7 concludes by demonstrating the financial feasibility and sustainability of operating and managing catastrophe risks under a sub-regional pool.
  • Publication
    From Transition to EU Accession : The Bulgarian Labor Market during the 1990s
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001-05) Garibaldi, Pietro; Makovec, Mattia; Stoyanova, Gabriella
    This report studies the Bulgarian labor market with a view to understand the interactions between the performance of the Bulgarian economy and the functioning of its labor market. The report assesses also the position of Bulgaria vis-a-vis compliance with the "acquis communautaire," and provides a set of key policy recommendations that may enhance job creation potential in years to come. In the aftermath of a steep adjustment process, the Bulgarian labor market resembles a sclerotic market, not dissimilar from the worst performing European markets. Nevertheless, the existing labor market policies and institutions, with the exception of excessively high payroll taxes and a somewhat strict employment protection legislation, are not necessarily synonymous of labor market rigidity: unemployment support schemes are modest, the minimum wage is not high, and industrial relations systems do not appear to prevent an efficient wage dispersion across sectors. Thus, the poor performance of Bulgaria is likely to be the result of a chronic inability to restructure its old sector and to tackle fundamental structural problems. In terms of compliance with the "acquis communautaire," Bulgaria's legislation appears aligned with most of the European Union requirements in the labor area. However, the standardization of working conditions requires substantial investments and a strengthening of administrative capacity to implement EU legislation.
  • Publication
    Financial Markets, Credit Constraints, and Investment in Rural Romania
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001-04) Chaves, Rodrigo A.; Sanchez, Susana; Schor, Saul; Tesliuc, Emil
    The 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.
  • Publication
    Private Infrastructure in East Asia : Lessons Learned in the Aftermath of the Crisis
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001-04) Baietti, Aldo
    Private 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.
  • Publication
    Turkmenistan : An Assessment of Leasehold-based Farm Restructuring
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001-03) Lerman, Zvi; Brooks, Karen
    Turkmenistan's unique approach to land reform and farm restructuring has produced a significant shift to individual or household-based farming, with more than three-quarters of the arable land leased to individual households or small groups. Most leaseholders consider this land to be rightfully theirs, and they expect to keep it in the future, either as private owners, or through extension of their leasehold. However, individual production is administratively circumscribed by a pervasive system of state orders and central planning. The lease contracts rigidly specify the crop that each leaseholder is required to produce (typically cotton or wheat) and set a specific quantity target for delivery to the state at prices much below the level of prices on international markets. Managers and leaseholders universally express the view that the prices they receive from the state for wheat and cotton are too low, and identify the chance to sell freely at open market proces as a key factor that would improve the economic situation on farms. Both managers and leaseholders expressed enthusiasm for the reform at the time of the survey. This is a natural psychological reaction to the dramatic transition to a new system, and to avoid disillusionment, the initial change must be followed by further meaningful reforms, including abolition of state orders, transfer of land to individual control, and elimination of constraints on individual choice.