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Ms. Eva H. G. Hüpkes, Mr. Michael W Taylor, and Mr. Marc G Quintyn

Abstract

Policymakers are often reluctant to grant independence to the agencies that regulate and supervise the financial sector because of the fear that these agencies, with their wide-ranging responsibilities and powers, could become a law unto themselves. This pamphlet describes mechanisms for making regulatory agencies accountable not only to the government but also to the industry they supervise and the public at large, with examples from a range of countries.

Toan Quoc Nguyen, Mr. Benedict J. Clements, and Ms. Rina Bhattacharya

Abstract

The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, launched in 1999 by the IMF and the World Bank, was the first coordinated effort by the international financial community to reduce the foreign debt of the world’s poorest countries. It was based on the theory that economic growth in heavily indebted poor countries was being stifled by heavy debt burdens, making it virtually impossible for these countries to escape poverty. However, most of the empirical research on the effects of debt on growth has lumped together a diverse group of countries, and the literature on the countries’ impact of debt on poor is scant. This pamphlet presents the findings of the authors’ empirical research into the subject, analyzing the channels through which debt affects growth in low-income countries.

Mr. Andrew Berg and Ms. Catherine A Pattillo

Abstract

The integration of financial markets around the world over the past decade has posed new challenges for policymakers. The speed with which money can be switched in and out of currencies and countries has increased with the efficiency of global communications, considerably shortening the time policymakers have to respond to emerging crises. This pamphlet takes alook at attempts by economists to predict crises by developing early warning systems to signal when trouble may be brewing in currency markets and banking systems.

Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Mr. David Coady, Frank Eich, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Alvar Kangur, Baoping Shang, and Mauricio Soto

Abstract

Pension reform is high on the policy agenda of many advanced and emerging market economies. In advanced economies the challenge is generally to contain future increases in public pension spending as the population ages. In emerging market economies, the challenges are often different. Where pension coverage is extensive, the issues are similar to those in advanced economies. Where pension coverage is low, the key challenge will be to expand coverage in a fiscally sustainable manner. This volume examines the outlook for public pension spending over the coming decades and the options for reform in 52 advanced and emerging market economies.

Ms. Valerie Reppelin and Mr. John Norregaard

Abstract

Explores different ways of controlling pollution through -green-taxes or permits, and evaluates their advantages and disadvantages. While many countries use environmental taxes, interest in tradable permits is growing.

Mr. Mark R. Stone

Abstract

Examines the steps involved in restructuring the corporate sector. Large-scale corporate restructuring made necessary by a financial crisis is one of the most daunting challenges faced by economic policymakers. The government is forced to take a leading role, even if indirectly, because of the need to prioritize policy goals, address market failures, reform the legal and tax systems, and deal with the resistance of powerful interest groups.

Ms. Eva Jenkner and Mr. Arye L. Hillman

Abstract

In an ideal world, primary education would be universal and publicly financed, and all children would be able to attend school regardless of their parents’ ability or willingness to pay. In many poor countries, however, governments lack either the financial resources or the political will to provide each child with a basic education, despite the benefits that would accrue not only to individuals but to society as a whole. In some of these countries, parents cover part or all of the cost of their children’s education. This paper explores the pros and cons of user payments.

Mr. Ayhan Kose, Mr. Kenneth Rogoff, Mr. Eswar S Prasad, and Shang-Jin Wei

Abstract

This study provides a candid, systematic, and critical review of recent evidence on this complex subject. Based on a review of the literature and some new empirical evidence, it finds that (1) in spite of an apparently strong theoretical presumption, it is difficult to detect a strong and robust causal relationship between financial integration and economic growth; (2) contrary to theoretical predictions, financial integration appears to be associated with increases in consumption volatility (both in absolute terms and relative to income volatility) in many developing countries; and (3) there appear to be threshold effects in both of these relationships, which may be related to absorptive capacity. Some recent evidence suggests that sound macroeconomic frameworks and, in particular, good governance are both quantitatively and qualitatively important in affecting developing countries’ experiences with financial globalization.

Mr. Luca A Ricci, Mr. Jonathan David Ostry, Mr. Jaewoo Lee, Mr. Alessandro Prati, and Mr. Gian M Milesi-Ferretti

Abstract

The rapid increase in international trade and financial integration over the past decade and the growing importance of emerging markets in world trade and GDP have inspired the IMF to place stronger emphasis on multilateral surveillance, macro-financial linkages, and the implications of globalization. The IMF's Consultative Group on Exchange Rate Issues (CGER)--formed in the mid-1990s to provide exchange rate assessments for a number of advanced economies from a multilateral perspective--has therefore broadened its mandate to cover both key advanced economies and major emerging market economies. This Occasional Paper summarizes the methodologies that underpin the expanded analysis.

Mr. Ashoka Mody and Mr. Abdul d Abiad

Abstract

Financial sector liberalization was high on the agenda of policymakers during the last quarter of the twentieth century. But there were significant differences in the pace and scale of reform. This pamphlet examines the factors triggering-or impeding and even reversing-financial reform in 35 economies, both industrial and developing.