The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The paper considers that strain is the main source of inter-enterprise arrears in post-command economies. Strain can be linked with the structure of the economy and the size of resource misallocation. Inter-enterprise arrears “soften” markets and operate as a self-protecting device against the pressure for change. As temporary quasi-inside money, arrears fuel inflation. A paradox of policy credibility in undertaking structural adjustment is emphasized. Rising exports can be a possible side effect of arrears and a constraining factor: the size of the economy is seen as affecting the relationship between arrears and exports. An operational framework for containing arrears would Include: “breaking up” structure; Imposing a disciplining “straitjacket” on structure; industrial policy (“picking losers among losers”) and targeted external assistance. Containing arrears can not be a one shot policy-drive; here one deals with a process that will overlap in time with the evolving environment.