Structural reforms without prejudice
Our economies face constant challenges from many different directions. Structural reforms are implemented every day, either to grasp the benefits of globalization and technological change, or to avoid foundering on unaffordable welfare systems or the rise of new economies. Despite this flurry of reforms, many of their effects are insufficiently understood. This book explores many issues that arise from structural reforms by comparing a number of reforms across a large set of countries and sectors. First, through an innovative multisectorial input-output analysis, the book compares the effects of liberalization reforms in the telecommunication and electricity sectors across Europe. It finds that very similar and well-intended reforms can generate highly contrasted outcomes. It is also shown that governments must consider the effects of each reform on all sectors of the economy. Second, the book explores how governments can tailor their reform strategy to alter the redistributive effects of reforms. It shows that the government's approach to reforms has been very different across time and across countries. A government's approach depends on local institutions, on the nature of the opposition, and on the scope of the reform under way. The book, however, shows that governments do have alternatives. Often, there are ways to tailor reforms so as to protect specific parts of the population; and there are ways to experiment gradually, to avoid costly policy mistakes.
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