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.
It is shown that the inefficiencies created by the “soft” budget constraint, enjoyed by enterprises in Eastern Europe and elsewhere, will continue so long as governments are unable credibly to threaten not to bail out loss-makers. Commitment to a “hard” budget constraint can best be achieved by the institution of a suitable social safety net. The burden on the social safety net can be reduced by the (endogenous) development of financial markets.