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   JUNE 1996
Volume 33, Number 2

 

Energy Policy

Financing Oil and Gas Projects in Developing Countries
Hossein Razavi
In the future, investment opportunities in the oil and gas sector are likely to be concentrated in developing countries. Project financing is scarce, however, because of the commercial and political risks. What can be done to mitigate the risks and attract funding?

Policy Reform in Russia's Oil Sector
Charles P. McPherson
Despite difficult circumstances, policy reform in Russia's oil sector has been impressive. Nevertheless, further reforms and investments in excess of $60 billion over the next 10 years will be needed to help the sector realize its potential.

Energy and the Environment: Technical and Economic Possibilities
Dennis Anderson
Total energy consumption in developing countries is expected to soar over the next few decades. But this does not necessarily bode ill for the environment. Technological advances are making it possible to reduce pollution considerably, even as energy use increases.

Adjustment and Growth

How Successful Are IMF-Supported Adjustment Programs?
Susan Schadler
How successful have countries been during adjustment programs? While most have seen a quick turnaround in their external accounts, a sharper focus on medium-term sustainability, firm nominal anchors, and better coordination of fiscal and monetary policy would help to raise growth and stamp out inflation.

The Response of Investment and Growth to Adjustment Policies
Erik C. Offerdal
The basic pillars of economic growth—investment and saving—are strongly influenced by the private sector's confidence in a country's policies. The timeliness, sustainability, and consistency of policies are therefore critically important.

The Quality of Fiscal Adjustment and Growth
George A. Mackenzie and David W.H. Orsmond
Fiscal adjustment is usually the first step on the road to macroeconomic stability. But sustained growth requires that as much attention be paid to the way the government's deficit is cut as to the size of the cut.

Guest Article

The Tobin Tax and Exchange Rate Stability
Paul Bernd Spahn
Recent turbulence in world financial markets has rekindled interest in the so-called Tobin tax on international financial transactions as a way to discourage speculative currency trading and reduce exchange rate volatility. A two-tier structure might be more effective than a pure transaction tax.

Counterpoint

Why a Two-Tier Tobin Tax Won't Work
Janet G. Stotsky
Financial market variability is a perennial problem for investors and policymakers alike. While attractive in some ways, a two-tier Tobin tax would not solve this problem and would have a number of undesirable side effects.

Also in this Issue

The Revenue Decline in the Countries of the Former Soviet Union
Adrienne Cheasty
In almost all the countries of the former Soviet Union, severe revenue losses have complicated stabilization efforts. The situation can be alleviated by measures to broaden tax bases and improve tax administration.

The Implicit Pension Debt
Cheikh Kane and Robert Palacios
Underfunded pension plans are a serious problem for industrial and developing countries alike. Because this implicit pension debt has important macroeconomic implications, governments need to tackle the problem as soon as possible.

IMF's New Data Standards Online
Laura Wallace

Forget Convergence: Divergence Past, Present, and Future
Lant Pritchett
Looking for evidence of income convergence among the world's nations has become a fashionable pursuit. Far from narrowing, the gap between the incomes of the rich and poor countries has grown markedly and is likely to widen further.

Secured Transactions: The Power of Collateral
Heywood Fleisig
In many developing countries, businesses are unable to get low-cost, long-term loans from private lenders to finance investment projects. Reforms that make it easier for borrowers to use movable property as collateral would give comfort to lenders, stimulate investment, and boost productivity and growth.

Stock Market Development and Corporate Finance Decisions
Asli DemirgŘš-Kunt and Vojislav Maksimovic
In developing countries, how is the growth of stock markets affecting corporate financing decisions? Initially, stock market development tends to be accompanied by higher corporate debt-equity ratios and more business for banks.

Urbanization: The Challenge for the Next Century


Departments

Letter from the Editor

World Economy in Transition
Social Indicators of Development
Sulekha Patel

Books

IMF Programmes in Developing Countries (Design and Impact) by Tony Killick
reviewed by Mark Allen

Russian Reform/International Money by Yegor Gaidar and Karl Otto P÷hl
reviewed by Donal Donovan

North-South Trade, Employment and Inequality: Changing Fortunes in a Skill-Driven World by Adrian Wood
reviewed by Alun Thomas

Coping with Austerity: Poverty and Inequality in Latin America, edited by Nora Lustig
reviewed by George A. Mackenzie

Fiscal Decentralization in Latin America, edited by Ricardo Lˇpez Murphy
reviewed by Gerd Schwartz

The New Multilateralism in Japan's Foreign Policy by Dennis T. Yasutomo
reviewed by Mark S. Lutz