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Taxing Times: The Role of Investment Incentives in Economic Recovery and Growth

May 27, 2021



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  • In the face of unprecedented demand and supply shocks stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic, many governments around the world are providing tax relief packages and incentives to support struggling businesses and encourage private sector growth. Although incentives are widely used policy instruments, empirical global evidence suggests that they are only effective under particular circumstances, and when designed and implemented strategically in terms of their value for money.  Especially for developing countries, already struggling with revenue mobilization, incentives carry a number of implementations challenges and risks. Through a guided discussion, this webinar explored the role and implications of incentives in supporting economic recovery, domestic revenue mobilization, and private sector growth. By drawing on international experiences, and highlighting new research, tools and trends, the webinar shed light on lessons learned to help guide incentives policymaking and provided a platform for debate on emerging themes.


    • How have different countries been leveraging tax incentives in response to Covid-19? What are some of the potential risks and lessons learned?
    • What role does targeting play in the design and application of incentives? What are key policy objectives being pursued, and how are they evolving through the pandemic?
    • How are incentives being used to promote sustainable environmental policies?
    • What are good practices related to the design and administration of incentives? What are some of the key challenges facing countries and how can they be addressed?
    • How can countries draw on cost-benefit analysis to inform decisions around incentive design and implementation? What are challenges and trends in this type of work?
    • What role can multilateral initiatives play to help curb incentives competition?
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    Session Chair and Opening Remarks:
    Caroline Freund, Global Director, Trade, Investment and Competitiveness, World Bank


    • Christine Qiang, Practice Manager, Global Investment Climate, World Bank
    • Peter Kusek, Senior Economist, Global Investment Climate, World Bank



    • David Baar, Senior Economist, Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF
    • Juvy Danofrata, Assistant Secretary, Department of Finance, Government of the Philippines
    • Luisa Dressler, Economist, Tax Policy and Statistics Division, Tax Policy and Administration, OECD


    Closing Remarks:

    Chiara Bronchi, Practice Manager, Fiscal Policy and Sustainable Growth, World Bank

  • David Baar is a Senior Economist in the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department, where he works primarily with least developed countries and small countries in the Caribbean, and helps develop the Tax Policy Division’s approach to tax expenditure reporting.  David joined the IMF in 2017 from Canada’s Department of Finance, where he worked on a broad range of tax policy issues over the previous 15 years. He has a Ph.D. in Economics from Queen’s University in Canada.

    Chiara Bronchi
    is Practice Manager for the Fiscal Policy and Sustainable Growth Unit in the Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment Practice of the World Bank Group. She leads a group of macro-fiscal economists and tax experts who work on all ranges of fiscal policy including the macroeconomics of climate change, with an emphasis on fiscal policies for climate actions.  Chiara has over 25 years of experience in managing multi-stakeholders and multi-disciplinary programs gained in various international organizations. Chiara holds a PhD from Bologna University and a MSc in Economics from University College of London.

    Juvy Danofrata
    has been with the Department of Finance (DOF) in the Philippines, since joining in 2004 as a senior economist in the Research and Information Office (RIO) where she handled tax policy formulation and analysis, in particular direct taxation. In 2015, she was appointed as the Director IV of the same office and was assigned to head the technical team which formulated the second package of the tax reform program of the DOF,  “Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act.” She also spearheaded the institutionalization of publishing the tax expenditures from investment incentives in the budget document of the government, which led to the enactment of the “Tax Incentives Management and Transparency Act (TIMTA)” law. Juvy received her Master’s degree in the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore in 2011.

    Luisa Dressler
    is an Economist in the Tax Policy and Statistics Division at the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, a position she has held since 2015. Her work focuses on the use of taxes to pursue environmental and climate policy objectives, their revenue implications and on the nexus of tax and investment policy. She was a co-author to the flagship OECD publications focusing on carbon pricing trends (Effective Carbon Rates), a lead author of country-specific tax policy analysis and, more recently, policy papers on the use of tax policy to support a green recovery. Luisa has published in academic journals and frequently speaks at policy and research events. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Université libre de Bruxelles in Belgium.

    Caroline Freund
     is the Global Director for Trade, Investment and Competitiveness at the World Bank. Previously she was a Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.  She has also worked as Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa at the World Bank, after working for nearly a decade in the international trade unit of the research department.  Caroline began her career in the international finance division of the Federal Reserve Board and spent a year visiting the research department of the IMF.  She has published extensively in academic journals and is the author of Rich People Poor Countries: The Rise of Emerging Market Tycoons and their Mega Firms.  She received a PhD in economics from Columbia University.

    Sebastian James is a Senior Economist (Tax Policy) with the Global Tax Team of the World Bank. Apart from addressing taxation, he has worked in cross-cutting areas on investment policy and Special Economic Zones. He has advised several developing countries on the design of their tax policy and tax administration. He is a former Indian Revenue Service officer and completed the International Tax Program at Harvard Law School and has a Master’s and PhD in Public Policy from Harvard University.

    Hania Kronfol
    is a Private Sector Specialist in the Investment Climate Unit of the World Bank Group, where she leads analytical and advisory projects on investment policy and promotion.  Her areas of expertise include FDI–led development, investment attraction and incentives, institutional strengthening, and trade and investment policy reform. She is the Investment Climate lead of the investment incentives workstream, spearheading research in the field and supporting over 30 client countries implement related reforms. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Government from Cornell University and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University.

    Peter Kusek
    is a senior economist at the World Bank Group. He leads the Applied Research Program on Investment Climate and is the managing editor of the Global Investment Competitiveness Report series.  With more than 15 years of experience specializing in foreign direct investment and private sector development, Peter has advised more than 40 governments across the world on investment climate reforms. His research and advisory work focus on international investment, competitiveness, and private sector development. He holds a master’s degree in economic policy and international development from Princeton University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of the South.

    Christine Zhenwei Qiang
    is Practice Manager of the Investment Climate Unit of the World Bank Group. Her teams advise client governments in over 100 countries on catalyzing private investment and competition through legal, policy, regulatory and institutional reforms. She has published journal articles, book chapters and reports on private sector development, economic growth, FDI, productivity and infrastructure development. Prior to joining the Investment Climate Department in 2011, she was Lead Economist at the Policy Division of the ICT Department of the World Bank Group. She has a PhD in Economics from Johns Hopkins University.