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A quarterly magazine of the IMF
Volume 35, Number 3
Economic Policy and Equity

Should Equity Be a Goal of Economic Policy?
IMF Staff
During periods of economic expansion, people see their incomes rise and living standards improve. Even in good times, however, an unfortunate few may be left behind. When and how should governments intervene to ensure not only that the size of the pie increases, but that everybody gets a fair share?

Conference Participants Agree on Key Issues
Vito Tanzi
On June 8–9, 1998, the IMF held a conference on economic policy and equity at its headquarters in Washington. Despite a diversity of views that made for lively discussions, the participants agreed on a number of key policy issues.

Public Spending on Human Development
Sanjeev Gupta, Benedict Clements, and Erwin Tiongson
Social indicators are improving in many developing countries as public spending on education and health increases. But a greater share of investment in human capital should be channeled toward primary education and preventive health care.

Asian Crisis

How Has the Asian Crisis Affected Other Regions?
IMF Area Department Directors
The Asian crisis was the cover theme of the June issue of Finance & Development, which included several articles on various aspects of this topic. It is now possible to provide a preliminary assessment of the impact of the crisis on the rest of the world. The directors of the IMF's five departments covering regions outside Asia provide brief assessments of how the Asian crisis has affected those regions during the past year.

Mitigating the Social Costs of the Asian Crisis
IMF Staff
A preliminary analysis of the impact of the Asian crisis shows that poverty could increase significantly in Indonesia, Korea, and Thailand. These countries' IMF-supported programs incorporate many measures to mitigate the effects of the crisis. But if the crisis deepens, additional policy options will need to be considered.

Transition Countries

Ten Years of Transition: A Progress Report
Patrick Lenain
It has been nearly ten years since the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union began the transition to a market economy. The radical changes required have made the process difficult and, at times, painful. Progress has been remarkable in a number of countries. But in others, successful market economies have not yet emerged.

The Post-Communist Transition: Patterns and Prospects
Julian Exeter and Steven Fries
Most formerly centrally planned economies have laid the foundations for a market economy. Their future development will depend on how they respond to the challenges of the next phase of transition: developing the public and private institutions—in particular, a strong financial sector—needed in a healthy market economy.

Energy Tax Reform in Russia and Other Former Soviet Union Countries
Dale Gray
The taxation of oil and gas production and consumption has become an important fiscal issue in most countries of the former Soviet Union. How can these countries modify the taxation of their energy sectors to increase fiscal revenues, improve efficiency, and encourage foreign investment?

Dealing with Azerbaijan's Oil Boom
Christoph B. Rosenberg and Tapio O. Saavalainen
How can transition countries in the Caspian Sea region and Central Asia that are rich in natural resources manage them to maximum advantage, while limiting the risks they pose?

Other Topics

Harry Dexter White and the International Monetary Fund
James M. Boughton
Harry Dexter White profoundly influenced both the design of the IMF and its development, yet his important work is not widely appreciated today. The fiftieth anniversary of his death offers an opportunity to review his accomplishments and career.

The IMF Meets Civil Society
Jan Aart Scholte
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of its member countries, and its primary relationships are with governments. However, it also conducts a dialogue with civil society. Both the IMF and civil society have much to gain from developing this dialogue.


Letter from the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Development Focus
Poverty and Economic Policy in the Philippines
Philip Gerson

Book Reviews

India's Economic Reforms and Development: Essays for Manmohan Singh edited by Isher Judge Ahluwalia and I.M.D. Little
reviewed by Mohsin S. Khan

The Commanding Heights: The Battle Between Government and the Marketplace That Is Remaking the Modern World by Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw
reviewed by Claire Liuksila

Managing Public Debt: Index-Linked Bonds in Theory and Practice edited by Marcello De Cecco, Lorenzo Pecchi, and Gustavo Piga
reviewed by Graeme Wheeler

Who Elected the Bankers? Surveillance and Control in the World Economy by Louis W. Pauly
reviewed by Joaqu�n Ferr�n