Other ESW Reports

276 items available

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This includes miscellaneous ESW types and pre-2003 ESW type reports that are subsequently completed and released.

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  • Publication
    Indonesia : Selected Fiscal Issues in a New Era
    (Washington, DC, 2003-02-14) World Bank
    Despite the substantial progress in managing its fiscal challenges post-1997 financial crisis, Indonesia's risks to the budget have not disappeared, though the Government continues to be committed to fiscal consolidation. While debt sustainability is improving, the budget remains vulnerable to shocks, and, large non-discretionary spending (interest payments, transfers to the regions, personnel spending) still constrain the use of fiscal policy for macroeconomic stabilization, and social risk protection, and, as the fiscal situation improves, and decentralization proceeds, a rethinking of resource allocation becomes necessary. This report assesses Indonesia's progress in dealing with challenges that have altered the fiscal system since the crisis, and reviews options for fiscal consolidation, as well as sectoral issues in the new decentralized environment, including public expenditure management reforms. Suggestions include an increased revenue mobilization to make the budget more risk proof, and an improved tax administration, rather than streamlining the tax structure alone, while the Government's decision to eliminate the fuel subsidy remains critical for fiscal consolidation (which has little social implications). Moreover, the large interest payments burden incurred during the crisis, is crowding out development spending, and similarly, increased transfers to local governments are limiting discretionary spending (which could be accompanied by a decrease in central development spending in areas of regional responsibilities). A refinement of the budget management system is necessary, where the Finance Law would be instrumental in establishing accountability between the Executive, and Parliament.
  • Publication
    Brazil : Jobs Report, Volume 1. Policy Briefing
    (Washington, DC, 2002-12-20) World Bank
    This report, conducted jointly by researchers in Brazil and at the World Bank, aims to address the debate on how the Brazilian labor market functions. It does so not by focusing on labor market functioning but on its outcomes. What is central are labor market outcomes, such as adequate employment growth so that job-seekers can find gainful employment, acceptable worker productivity levels that are fairly compensated, and reasonable income security for workers and their households. This report is structured as follows: Chapter 1 argues that labor laws have begun to show signs of obsolescence. Chapter 2 shows this is reflected in deteriorating outcomes. Key indicators--employment growth, labor force participation, unemployment rates, and income security--all point to worsening labor market functioning since the mid-1990s. The report then examines how changed macroeconomic circumstances call for changes in labor market institutions, regulations, and interventions. Using a characterization of the economy in which informality has a central role, Chapter 3 illustrates the correspondence between the three main macroeconomic phenomena of the 1990s--greater openness, stabilization, and fiscal adjustment--and Brazil's labor market priorities. Chapter 4 concludes that the labor market has signaled the shortage of educated workers since the 1990s, and the onus is now on the education and training systems to respond. Analysis of how Brazil's labor market functions in Chapter 5 points to evidence that indicates that Brazil's poorer workers and smaller firms are especially disadvantaged by how the labor market functions. The report identifies three sets of priorities for reform: changes in mandated non-wage benefits and minimum wage setting to price labor correctly and encourage empoloyment growth (Chapter 6), changes in severance legislation and functioning of labor courts to better align incentives and increase productivity (Chapter 7), and improvements in interventions to increase income security for all workers (Chapter 8). Chapter 9 summarizes and highlights the main policy implications. Volume 2 contains in-depth examination of the issues of interest in Brazil and the relevant international experience, on which Chapters 1 through 8 of the first volume are based.
  • Publication
    Paraguay : Financial Sector Review
    (Washington, DC, 2002-11-15) World Bank
    The report examines the highly vulnerable situation of the financial system in Paraguay, which suffered from a banking crisis in 1995-98, in addition to recent competitive devaluations of the Brazilian currency, the fall in cotton prices, as well as the regional economic slowdown. A major factor obscuring the reality of banking system solvency, is the practice of substituting needed loan provisions, with collaterals which underlie the loans. The main issue here is the relative liquidity absence, and delays inherent in unwinding such collateral, as well as its potential over-valuation, making it an ineffective substitute for cash provisions. The report further examines banking reforms, and restructuring of the state-owned banks, institutional and regulatory framework, and the safety net mechanisms and deposit insurance governing the system. It is suggested the reform of the pension system is crucial at this juncture, given that the current pay-as-you-go social security public pension system, is not fiscally sustainable from an actuarial, and benefits payment perspective, and, because the current system, even at its best, delivers very low returns on pension investment funds. Most importantly, for both the public, and private systems, the investment regime should permit heavy weighting in foreign hard currency securities.
  • Publication
    India - Maharashtra : Reorienting Government to Facilitate Growth and Reduce Poverty, Volume 2. Statistical Appendix, Other Annexes, and Workshop Programs
    (Washington, DC, 2002-10-31) World Bank
    Maharashtra's leadership position in India is under threat. The State is facing several bottlenecks to development: the private sector is no longer embracing Maharashtra and the public sector banks are increasingly reluctant to assist Maharashtra in its off-budget endeavors. Thus, the status quo is not an option. Regaining its leadership position is well within Maharashtra's reach. Among its many strengths are: the large pool of literate and skilled labor force, a well-developed financial system, a talented bureaucracy, and willingness to break with the ways of the past. If the State can successfully implement its reform agenda, it can quickly rebound and be back on the path of growth and prosperity. The lessons of the past decade suggest two guiding principles: First, the Government needs to articulate the message that its reforms are not to hurt, but to help the farmers. If reforms are to succeed, they have to be pro-farmer and pro-poor. Maharashtra's fiscal stress, be it due to power and irrigation subsidies or due to the losses in cotton and sugar interventions, has a close connection with the rural sector. However, as analyzed in Chapter 4, the current rural interventions are imposing a huge and unsustainable fiscal cost on the state, and more importantly, the bulk of the benefits are accruing to the rural rich. the challenge for the government, therefore, is to provide more efficient, equitable, and sustainable assistance to the rural poor. Second, the government's reform program needs to be designed and implemented with a medium- to long-term perspective. Piecemeal, short-term reforms can only bring short-term gains. The Government of Maharashtra faces a simple choice: to try to succeed in a difficult reform endeavor, or, since the policies of the past no longer work, to give up without trying and condemn itself to developmental and fiscal failure. Through its 2002-03 Budget Speech, the Government has indicated that it has chosen the former path. The quicker it moves along it, the greater the chances of success.
  • Publication
    Lithuania : Issues in Municipal Finance
    (Washington, DC, 2002-05-16) World Bank
    Since the establishment of Lithuania's independence, the country achieved substantial progress in transforming its local governments into independent units of Government: structural reforms to prod intergovernmental relations were made in 1994 and 1997, and will continue in 2002. Nevertheless, several issues remain, requiring particular attention from the Government. First, revenue and expenditure assignment between levels of government, and the degree of central regulation over local finance, needs to be reviewed. Local governments face fiscal constraints, for revenues are centrally collected, and distributed at centrally determined rates. And, although local governments have nominal authority over their expenditures, major items (salaries and welfare payments) are subject to Government control, resulting in local governments being faced with running arrears, or borrowing from the Government or private lenders. Although high per capita jurisdictions are required to share revenues with poorer counterparts, it is not clear that distribution mechanisms actually allocate revenues as needed. Upcoming reforms are likely to change this, but a greater change in the revenue distribution criteria, would be by funding delegated functions, but distributing according to sector-specific indicators of need, as well as budgeting financial availability. Second, financing capital investment may be improved by a greater fiscal autonomy to local governments, and mostly, by improving the quality of financial information, with reforms that include the separation of current, and capital accounts, and the adoption of accrual accounting for expenditures.
  • Publication
    India's Transport Sector : The Challenges Ahead, Volume 1. Main Report
    (Washington, DC, 2002-05-10) World Bank
    India's transport system--especially surface transport--is seriously deficient, and its services are highly inefficient by international standards. The economic losses from congestion and poor roads are estimated at 120 to 300 billion rupees a year. This report takes a critical assessment of the key policy and institutional issues that continue to contribute to the poor performance of the transport sector in India. After an introduction, Chapter 2 provides an overview of rapid demand change and poor supply response, and the resulting adverse impacts on the Indian economy and society. Chapter 3 examines the causes of poor supply response by focusing on four major problems: unclear responsibilities, inadequate resource mobilization, poor asset management, and inadequate imposition of accountability. Chapter 4 reviews recent reforms and lessons learned. Chapter 5 proposes short to medium term actions for each of the main transport subsectors. Three factors make it particularly opportune time for India to expedite transport reform: 1) Initial reform momentum has been built up. 2) There is a growing consensus within India that transport should be managed as an economic sector. 3) There are many successful models for transport reform from around the world. The resistance to reform should be overcome considering the high cost of slow or inadequate action to the Indian economy and society.
  • Publication
    India's Transport Sector : The Challenges Ahead, Volume 2. Background papers
    (Washington, DC, 2002-05-10) World Bank
    India's transport system--especially surface transport--is seriously deficient, and its services are highly inefficient by international standards. The economic losses from congestion and poor roads are estimated at 120 to 300 billion rupees a year. This report takes a critical assessment of the key policy and institutional issues that continue to contribute to the poor performance of the transport sector in India. After an introduction, Chapter 2 provides an overview of rapid demand change and poor supply response, and the resulting adverse impacts on the Indian economy and society. Chapter 3 examines the causes of poor supply response by focusing on four major problems: unclear responsibilities, inadequate resource mobilization, poor asset management, and inadequate imposition of accountability. Chapter 4 reviews recent reforms and lessons learned. Chapter 5 proposes short to medium term actions for each of the main transport subsectors. Three factors make it particularly opportune time for India to expedite transport reform: 1) Initial reform momentum has been built up. 2) There is a growing consensus within India that transport should be managed as an economic sector. 3) There are many successful models for transport reform from around the world. The resistance to reform should be overcome considering the high cost of slow or inadequate action to the Indian economy and society.
  • Publication
    Romania : Local Social Services Delivery Study, Volume 1. Summary Report
    (Washington, DC, 2002-01-16) World Bank
    The study seeks to identify institutional, and procedural factors which may facilitate, or hamper the effectiveness of social services, and inter-governmental fiscal arrangements. Based on existing research on decentralization, the success of decentralized service delivery depends on factors, that include the quality of intergovernmental institutions, a stable fiscal framework, and a well established civil society, and social structure. The study focuses on public social services, where local governments play the greatest role, and, throughout the report, the greatest emphasis is on social assistance benefits, and services, addressing those cash benefits which are delivered, and financed by local governments, including national programs such as birth grants, emergency assistance, and the main poverty alleviation program. In education, the study focuses on compulsory, and secondary education, though it does not address specialized secondary education, which is under the purview of central ministries. The study comprises two volumes: volume 1 provides an overview of the issues, summarizes major findings, and presents policy options; volume 2 includes the detailed discussion, and analysis, and presents the empirical underpinnings of the report. The study finds that fiscal decentralization of poverty alleviation benefits, has undermined its effectiveness, and eroded social safety nets; thus the government is preparing the Minimum Income Guarantee Program Law to centralize financing of social assistance cash benefits. And, education seems to be the policy area with greatest potential for further decentralization, suggesting a careful capacity evaluation to decide whether to attain complete autonomy.
  • Publication
    Romania : Local Social Services Delivery Study, Volume 2. Main Report
    (Washington, DC, 2002-01-16) World Bank
    The study seeks to identify institutional, and procedural factors which may facilitate, or hamper the effectiveness of social services, and inter-governmental fiscal arrangements. Based on existing research on decentralization, the success of decentralized service delivery depends on factors, that include the quality of intergovernmental institutions, a stable fiscal framework, and a well established civil society, and social structure. The study focuses on public social services, where local governments play the greatest role, and, throughout the report, the greatest emphasis is on social assistance benefits, and services, addressing those cash benefits which are delivered, and financed by local governments, including national programs such as birth grants, emergency assistance, and the main poverty alleviation program. In education, the study focuses on compulsory, and secondary education, though it does not address specialized secondary education, which is under the purview of central ministries. The study comprises two volumes: volume 1 provides an overview of the issues, summarizes major findings, and presents policy options; volume 2 includes the detailed discussion, and analysis, and presents the empirical underpinnings of the report. The study finds that fiscal decentralization of poverty alleviation benefits, has undermined its effectiveness, and eroded social safety nets; thus the government is preparing the Minimum Income Guarantee Program Law to centralize financing of social assistance cash benefits. And, education seems to be the policy area with greatest potential for further decentralization, suggesting a careful capacity evaluation to decide whether to attain complete autonomy.
  • Publication
    Armenia : Growth Challenges and Government Policies, Volume 1. Main Conclusions and Recommendations
    (Washington, DC, 2001-11-30) World Bank
    This report reviews growth trends in Armenia for the period 1994-2000, outlines major weaknesses of existing development patterns, and suggests a package of policy recommendations designed to accelerate enterprise restructuring, attract investment, and encourage the creation of new businesses in the medium term (three to five years). Such steps are needed to systain (and preferably to increase) the current growth rates, to stop emigration among the young and skilled, and to reduce poverty. The government needs to focus much more clearly on generating the environment for private sector led growth by removing bottlenecks in policies, infrastructure, and institutions that prevent new private businesses from flourishing. International aid donors can help by supporting the removal of administrative barriers for investments, the rehabilitation of infrastructure, and the creation of "restructuring agencies" that will enable firms in key sectors to overcome or avoid common constraints to business growth in Armenia. Successful restructuring by such firms should have a demonstration effect on the country's economy and help consolidate public support for moving forward the program of reform begun a decade ago.