The ability of digital payments to deliver better outcomes for governments, businesses, and individuals—including driving financial inclusion—has been one of the success stories of the digital age.
Should Developing Countries Sign the OECD Multilateral Instrument to Address Treaty-Related Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Measures?
The Multilateral Instrument (MLI) is a groundbreaking mechanism to update the network of thousands of bilateral tax treaties that make up the international tax system. This paper argues that developing countries should sign up to the MLI, but that they can afford to take a wait-and-see approach to selecting and finalizing options, while reviewing the options selected by other countries and building capacity for implementation. Developing countries should also be cautious about entering into new tax treaties to be sure that provisions are in their favour.
What Mining Can Learn from Oil: A Study of Special Transfer Pricing Practices in the Oil Sector, and their Potential Application to Hard Rock Minerals
Governments of mining countries are vulnerable to investors manipulating transfer prices as a means of avoiding paying taxes. This paper looks at whether special practices in the oil sector that provide materially greater protection against transfer pricing risk could be applied to hard rock minerals. These are (1) administrative pricing, where government, rather than the taxpayer sets the price for crude oil; and (2) the no-profit rule, which prevents joint venture partners from charging a profit mark-up on the cost of providing goods and services to the group.
Illicit Financial Flows, Trade Misinvoicing, and Multinational Tax Avoidance: The Same or Different?
Illicit financial flows (IFFs) connected with corruption, crime, and tax evasion are an issue of increasing concern. However, there is not yet a clear consensus on how to define illicit financial flows, and even less on how to measure them.
This paper looks at estimates of the potential gains from taxing across borders, alongside largely domestic measures such as property tax, personal income tax, VAT, and tobacco taxes. It finds that while action on cross-border taxation could yield additional tax take in the region of one percent of GDP, in many countries measures targeting the domestic tax base might deliver something in the region of nine percent. The main enabler is political commitment.
Fuel Subsidy Reform in Developing Countries: Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG Cooking Gas Subsidy in India
India’s reform of household subsidies for the purchase of LPG cooking gas stands out for a several reasons. The paper provides a detailed picture of the reform through its various stages, including how the process was conceptualized, coordinated, and implemented. It analyzes how such a reform must be able to adapt to concerns as they arise and to new information, how digital technology was used and how it is possible to use a voluntary self-targeting “nudge” to defuse potential resistance to income-based targeting.
Increasing attention is being paid to the potential of blockchain technology to address long-standing challenges related to economic development. This paper provides a clear-eyed view of the technology’s potential in the context of development. It focuses on identifying the questions that development practitioners should be asking technologists, and challenges that innovators must address for the technology to meet its potential.
In 2015, India's system of fiscal devolution underwent a radical transformation. This paper uses the experience of Brazil, China, and Mexico to draw important lessons on how India can use the opportunity of fiscal devolution to create a better system of health financing through better policy coordination between federal and local governments.
Global health action has been remarkably successful at saving lives and preventing illness in many of the world’s poorest countries. This is a key reason that funding for global health initiatives has increased in the last twenty years. Nevertheless, financial support is periodically jeopardized when scandals erupt over allegations of corruption, sometimes halting health programs altogether.
How Does OPIC Balance Risks, Additionality, and Development? Proposals for Greater Transparency and Stoplight Filters
As the U.S. government’s development finance institution, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) provides investors with financing, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds when commercial funding cannot be obtained elsewhere. Its mandate is to mobilize private capital to help address critical development challenges and to advance U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. However, balancing risks, financial needs, and development benefits comes with tradeoffs.
Corruption is an obstacle to social and economic progress in developing countries yet we still know very little about the effectiveness of anti-corruption efforts and their impact on development impact. This essay looks at 25 years of efforts by foreign aid agencies to combat corruption and proposes a new strategy which could leverage existing approaches by directly incorporating information on development results.
International debates on taxation and development have been informed by a popular narrative that there is a large ‘pot of gold’ for funding which could be released by cracking down on the questionable tax practices of multinational enterprises, and which could bridge the gap towards f
In recent years there has been growing recognition of the harm done to development by illicit financial flows, and the role of rich countries in providing an environment which tolerates or discourages them. To investigate whether indicators of illicit finance should be included in the CDI, the Center for Global Development commissioned this background paper from Petr Janský, a Czech academic economist from the Charles University and CERGE-EI in Prague.
This paper lists—and attempts to address—the most serious objections to Oil-to-Cash. The response to many objections is to ask about a plausible counterfactual (how do cash transfers compare to the alternative policy options?). Others warrant a clearer articulation of available evidence or ways to mitigate real worries through smart program design.
This study is about recovering money stolen by corrupt politicians and officials. Asset recovery is a key element in deterring and punishing the corrupt, and the reduction of corruption is critical to development. The money can be put to better uses once recovered, and it amounts to billions.
Keith A. Bezanson and Paul Isenman focus on the challenges inherent in the governance of new global partnerships and show how to avoid or redress their shortcomings.
This paper makes the case for publishing the details of government procurement contracts. Publication could improve government decision-making and competition for contracts, with the added benefit of lowering costs and corruption.
Vijaya Ramachandran and Julie Walz propose changes to the business of aid to Haiti to help develop the capacity of the government there.