Mr. Benedicte Baduel, Asel Isakova, and Anna Ter-Martirosyan
Sharing economic benefits equitably across all segments of society includes addressing the specific challenges of different generations. At present, youth and elderly are particularly vulnerable to poverty relative to adults in their middle years. Broad-based policies should aim to foster youth integration into the labor market and ensure adequate income and health care support for the elderly. Turning to the intergenerational dimension, everyone should have the same chances in life, regardless of their family background. Policies that promote social mobility include improving access to high-quality care and education starting from a very early age, supporting lifelong learning, effective social protection schemes, and investing in infrastructure and other services to reduce spatial segregation.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the drivers of wage growth and inflation in Estonia. The analysis reveals that the role played by the inflation and inflation expectations in Estonia is different from those of the EU15. The impact of inflation on wage formation is smaller than in larger and richer countries with lower inflation volatility. This has limited the downward pressure on wages during the period of very low inflation in 2014–16. Although there has been an episode of wage growth leading inflation before the global financial crisis, the current simultaneous acceleration in prices and wages is not evidence of a developing wage-price spiral, as a significant share of the increase in inflation is owing to exogenous factors.
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This issue focuses on recent experiences that holds lessons for when to tackle debt and when not to. Growth is picking up, and the IMF has been ratcheting up its forecasts. Government coffers are filling and, with more people at work, demand for public social support is receding. Research shows that the stimulatory effect of fiscal expansion is weak when the economy is close to capacity. Low-income economies may be at greatest risk. Traditionally, they borrowed from official creditors at below-market rates. Higher global rates could divert precious budget resources to debt servicing from crucial infrastructure projects and social services. Raising budget balances toward their medium-term targets can be achieved at little cost to economic activity. Growth-enhancing infrastructure investments and crucial social services such as health and education should be maintained. Well-designed fiscal policy can address inequality and stimulate growth.
This Selected Issues paper examines the reasons behind Lithuania’s low tax-GDP ratio relative to the European Union (EU). At end-2015, Lithuania had nearly the lowest tax-GDP ratio in the EU, along with Bulgaria and Romania. The tax revenue shortfall relative to the EU is for the most part attributable to weak tax administration and tax policy, with the structure of the economy playing a secondary role. The second largest contribution to the tax revenue shortfall relative to the EU comes from social security contributions. The shortfall is driven primarily by the structure of the economy, and to a smaller extent by tax administration.
It is generally acknowledged that the government’s output is difficult to define and its value is hard to measure. The practical solution, adopted by national accounts systems, is to equate output to input costs. However, several studies estimate significant inefficiencies in government activities (i.e., same output could be achieved with less inputs), implying that inputs are not a good approximation for outputs. If taken seriously, the next logical step is to purge from GDP the fraction of government inputs that is wasted. As differences in the quality of the public sector have a direct impact on citizens’ effective consumption of public and private goods and services, we must take them into account when computing a measure of living standards. We illustrate such a correction computing corrected per capita GDPs on the basis of two studies that estimate efficiency scores for several dimensions of government activities. We show that the correction could be significant, and rankings of living standards could be re-ordered as a result.
The IMF Research Bulletin, a quarterly publication, selectively summarizes research and analytical work done by various departments at the IMF, and also provides a listing of research documents and other research-related activities, including conferences and seminars. The Bulletin is intended to serve as a summary guide to research done at the IMF on various topics, and to provide a better perspective on the analytical underpinnings of the IMF’s operational work.