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Liam Clegg

The World Bank remains one of the most prominent actors in the field of global development, and one of the foremost international organisations in contemporary global politics. Over its history, its lending for housing has mortgaged development by prioritising financial sector expansion over the needs of low-income groups. Through this book, Liam Clegg explores the drivers of World Bank operational practices, and the contribution of these operations to state transformations across the global South.
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The state socialist model

Mortgaging Development

Liam Clegg

World Bank lending for housing into state socialist housing systems was focused predominantly through the 1990s. In addition to providing a review of transformations in state socialist systems across the former Soviet Union and its near neighbourhood, the movements in China towards a market-based socialist model are reviewed. While across the former Soviet Union and its neighbourhood World Bank efforts to support the creation of marketised systems have achieved variable levels of success, in the case of China deep transformation has been realised. Nonetheless, concerns are flagged over the extent to which the housing needs of low-income groups have been incorporated into both World Bank lending and these reformed systems overall.

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The mixed provision model

Mortgaging Development

Liam Clegg

In this chapter, an exploration of World Bank lending for housing across Latin America is combined with a detailed review of the Mexican case. In the region, housing systems tend to incorporate significant volumes of state-led, market-based, and informal housing supply. World Bank lending initially supported governments’ efforts to strengthen their capacity to act as provider states in the realm of housing, before in more recent years promoting moves toward more regulatory modes of engagement. In Mexico, the turn in World Bank lending toward mortgage market expansion coincided with the transition from the PRI to the PAN administration. While the Bank has assisted in the creation of a national mortgage liquidity facility, the needs of low-income populations in informal settlements have attracted relatively little attention from the organisation, and remain under-served through the Mexican housing system.

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Lending for housing at the World Bank

Mortgaging Development

Liam Clegg

The World Bank commenced its housing operations in 1972. This chapter identifies three main phases in these operations, which have seen a progressive reduction in the organisation’s pro-poor targeting. The interactions between internal processes of trial-and-error-based learning and personnel shifts, which have driven the evolution of the Bank’s approach to lending for housing, are reviewed.

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The informal model

Mortgaging Development

Liam Clegg

Across sub-Saharan Africa, national housing systems are typically characterised by high levels of informal housing provision, with the state and market-based mechanisms playing a relatively limited role. Initially, a substantial volume of World Bank lending was channelled into the region, and targeted at improving the standard of shelter in informal settlements. However, over recent decades, the flow of resources has reduced markedly, and come to focus on mortgage market expansion. The Tanzanian case reflects these overall dynamics, with the bulk of recent World Bank lending being used to create a mortgage liquidity facility. The direct impact of this facility is enjoyed by higher-income groups able to access related circuits of capital, with the lower-income population continuing to rely on informal mechanisms for housing supply and improvement.

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Liam Clegg

This final chapter provides a brief recap of the core insights that have been advanced through the book as a whole, and reviews emerging dynamics in the World Bank’s engagement with housing micro-finance, and sanitation and water supply. The growing engagement with housing micro-finance and non-network sanitation services contains clear pro-poor targeting, but these seem likely to remain marginal features of operational practice. In contrast, given the established flow of resources being directed toward water supply, attempts to introduce an enhanced pro-poor focus in the area has the potential to generate widespread improvements. It remains to be seen, however, whether supportive developments inside the Bank and receptive policy frameworks amongst its borrowers will enable this focus to be sustained and expanded.

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Liam Clegg

In this chapter, the central lines of analysis developed in the book as a whole are introduced. The main engagement offered is with literatures on international organisations where the ‘constrained experimentalist’ model of operational change offers an extension to existing studies. In addition, findings over the difficulties of securing progressive outcomes through market-based mechanisms in regulatory states of the global South, and over mismatches between visions of the post-Washington Consensus and recent World Bank practice, are outlined.

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Preface

Achieving Fiscal Sustainability

Edited by Naoyuki Yoshino and Peter J. Morgan

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Paul Smoke

Fiscal decentralization and intergovernmental fiscal relations reform have become nearly ubiquitous in developing countries. Performance, however, has often been disappointing in terms of both policy formulation and outcomes. The dynamics underlying these results have been poorly researched. Available literature focuses heavily on policy and institutional design concerns framed by public finance, fiscal federalism, and public management principles. The literature tends to explain unsatisfactory outcomes largely as a result of some combination of flawed design and management of intergovernmental fiscal systems, insufficient capacity, and lack of political will. These factors are important, but there is room to broaden the analysis in at least two potentially valuable ways. First, much can be learned by more robustly examining how national and local political and bureaucratic forces shape the policy space, providing opportunities for and placing constraints on effective and sustainable reform. Second, the analysis would benefit from moving beyond design to considering how to implement reform more strategically.

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Qichun Zhang and Shufang Li

Fiscal decentralization has been established in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), but crises emerge at the local government level due to remaining problems of the fiscal administration system of tax allocation and the impact of replacing the business tax with a value added tax. The PRC taxation system requires readjustment and local governments have begun to focus on innovative financing models. The main path to stable and sustainable government finances is to maintain the general public budget and the government fund budget. The present chapter shows that use of innovative fundraising and financing channels will lead to the upgrading of local government infrastructure and public services. Suggestions for enhancing local government fiscal stability and sustainability include: reducing the fiscal burden at the local level by standardizing and legalizing outlay establishing a modern taxation system; establishing a standardized and predictable transfer payment system by introducing block transfer payments and prioritized transfer payments as a basis for a stable growth mechanism for general transfer payments; promoting public–private partnership legislation to encourage participation of social capital and maximize the multiplier effect of public expenditure; and improving the mid-term budget and debt-annexed budget and establishing a government planning mechanism for investment and debt financing of major infrastructure construction projects.