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Blog: Reforming Pakistan’s Tax System: Evidence-based suggestions

As Pakistan fails to collect a decent proportion of own-source revenue, it has little choice than to take on debt or depend on more creative means, such as a recent crowdfunding campaign, to fund public projects. Where does Pakistan stand? Pakistan tax-to-GDP ratio is about 12% . In comparison, OECD countries raise taxes equivalent to … Continue reading Blog: Reforming Pakistan’s Tax System: Evidence-based suggestions

Op-Ed: Why Pakistan will go to the IMF again, and again and again

Originally published in Dawn.com on October 16, 2018 and can be read here. It was subsequently cross-posted at Scroll.in here. Pakistan’s formula for economic growth is as flawed as it gets: borrow foreign currency-denominated loans, build some large-scale infrastructure, get a minor growth spurt in the process, and wait until this growth spurt fades so we … Continue reading Op-Ed: Why Pakistan will go to the IMF again, and again and again

Thoughts on Joe Studwell’s ‘How Asia Works’

I just completed Joe Studwell's new book "How Asia Works: Success and Failure in the World's Most Dynamic Region." Here are some thoughts I tweeted about after reading it. 1) Size of farms matters! Studwell argues that having a small (3ish acre) family-owned farms boosts agriculture productivity (read: land reforms!). There are various loopholes countries (like … Continue reading Thoughts on Joe Studwell’s ‘How Asia Works’

Commentary for Dawn on 2018 Pakistan Budget Changes

These are my comments published in Dawn.com on Sep 19, 2018 after the amended finance bill by the 15th National Assembly of Pakistan. "The bill is anything but populist" — Shahrukh Wani, researcher at Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford The announcement contains pretty straightforward short-term stabilising measures. Essentially, this allows the government to 'tighten its belt' a bit and give … Continue reading Commentary for Dawn on 2018 Pakistan Budget Changes

Op-Ed: Imran Khan envisions a Pakistani welfare state. Is it possible?

This is an archived version of an article written for Dawn.com, published on Aug, 28th 2018. If you want to share it, please do so the version on Dawn.com. It was posted here 3rd Sep 2018 as a self-archive. Pakistan has a new leader at the helm who, if his first address to the nation is to be considered … Continue reading Op-Ed: Imran Khan envisions a Pakistani welfare state. Is it possible?