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. 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. 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. PublicationPoverty in Albania : A Qualitative Assessment(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002) De Soto, Hermine; Gordon, Peter; Gedeshi, Ilir; Sinoimeri, ZamiraThis qualitative assessment of poverty in Albania seeks to deepen the understanding of poverty in the country, first, by involving poor Albanians in a process of exploring the causes, nature, extent of poverty, and how it affects their livelihoods. Second, it is intended to support the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). Third, it supports preparation of the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS), and the Living Standards Measurement Survey (LSMS) process. Fourth, it supports ongoing research on formal and informal institutions in the country that are relevant to poverty, and it identifies as well, emerging areas of concern. Findings suggest that poverty in the study sites, developed as a result of a weak economic base at the beginning of reform (as of 1990), worsened as the reforms continued and accelerated during the 1997 financial crisis. From household interviews, it is perceived that the causes of poverty are a result of unemployment, insufficient and low quality of land, absence of formal institutions, and marketing mechanisms to support industrial and agricultural development, and the government's inability to respond to infrastructure and basic needs. The study further examines the factors depressing and/or precluding (sector wide) the potential to compete, sustain livelihoods, attain employment, and receive economic and social assistance. PublicationThe Current Regulatory Framework Governing Business in Bulgaria(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001-07) O'Brien, Thomas; Filipov, ChristianThe 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. 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.