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Sophia Chen and Do Lee
We provide broad-based evidence of a firm size premium of total factor productivity (TFP) growth in Europe after the Global Financial Crisis. The TFP growth of smaller firms was more adversely affected and diverged from their larger counterparts after the crisis. The impact was progressively larger for medium, small, and micro firms relative to large firms. It was also disproportionally larger for firms with limited credit market access. Moreover, smaller firms were less likely to have access to safer banks: those that were better capitalized banks and with a presence in the credit default swap market. Horseraces suggest that firm size may be a more important and robust vulnerability indicator than balance sheet characteristics. Our results imply that the tightening of credit market conditions during the crisis, coupled with limited credit market access especially among micro, small, and medium firms, may have contributed to the large and persistent drop in aggregate TFP.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
At the request of the central bank of Sweden (the Riksbank), the Monetary and Capital Markets Department (MCM) provided technical assistance (TA) on central bank operations by means of a desk review of the proposed amendments suggested by the independent committee to the Swedish Riksbank Act, during the period February 2019 and June 2020. The desk review was led by Mr. Ashraf Khan, and conducted jointly with Mr. Asad Qureshi, Mr. Romain Veyrune, and Mr. Rudy Wytenburg. Additional input was also provided by Ms. Ioana Luca of the IMF’s Legal Department and colleagues from the IMF’s European Department, Sweden Team. The purpose of the desk review was to provide advice to the Riksbank on key issues relating to central bank operations, with a particular focus on the central bank’s governance, independence, instruments, and internal organization. It should be noted that the review findings, comments, and recommendations in this report are not representative of views of the IMF or of its Executive Board and are intended for the purpose of contributing to the public discussion in Sweden in the context of the draft Riksbank Act. The comments are also not intended to be complete, nor represent a detailed legal review of the Act. Instead, as noted above, the comments reflect selected key issues from a central bank operations’ perspective.
Uwe Böwer
State-owned enterprises (SOEs) play an important role in Emerging Europe’s economies, notably in the energy and transport sectors. Based on a new firm-level dataset, this paper reviews the SOE landscape, assesses SOE performance across countries and vis-à-vis private firms, and evaluates recent SOE governance reform experience in 11 Emerging European countries, as well as Sweden as a benchmark. Profitability and efficiency of resource allocation of SOEs lag those of private firms in most sectors, with substantial cross-country variation. Poor SOE performance raises three main risks: large and risky contingent liabilities could stretch public finances; sizeable state ownership of banks coupled with poor governance could threaten financial stability; and negative productivity spillovers could affect the economy at large. SOE governance frameworks are partly weak and should be strengthened along three lines: fleshing out a consistent ownership policy; giving teeth to financial oversight; and making SOE boards more professional.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Technical Note discusses the findings and recommendations made in the Financial Sector Assessment Program for Sweden in the areas of supervision and oversight of financial market infrastructures (FMIs). FMIs in Sweden are subject to appropriate and effective supervision and oversight by the Finansinspektionen (Financial Supervisory Authority, FI) and Sveriges Riksbank (Riksbank). The scope, basis, and objectives of each authority’s supervision and oversight are clearly defined and disclosed. There is evidence that the authorities’ supervision and oversight have effectively improved risk management practices at Swedish FMIs. There is also effective cooperation between the FI and Riksbank in the supervision and oversight of FMIs. The risk management at Nasdaq Clearing appears to be sound.
Mr. Richard I Allen and Mr. Miguel A Alves
Many studies have highlighted how failures of public corporations (otherwise known as state-owned enterprises) can result in huge economic and fiscal costs. To contain the risks associated with these costs, an effective regime for the financial supervision and oversight of public corporations should be put in place. This note discusses the legal, institutional, and procedural arrangements that governments need to oversee the financial operations of their public corporations, ensure accountability for their performance, and manage the fiscal risks they present. In particular, it recommends that governments should focus their surveillance on public corporations that are large in relation to the economy, create fiscal risks, are not profitable, are unstable financially, or are heavily dependent on government subsidies or guarantees.
Mr. Dimitri G Demekas
Giving stress tests a macroprudential perspective requires (i) incorporating general equilibrium dimensions, so that the outcome of the test depends not only on the size of the shock and the buffers of individual institutions but also on their behavioral responses and their interactions with each other and with other economic agents; and (ii) focusing on the resilience of the system as a whole. Progress has been made toward the first goal: several models are now available that attempt to integrate solvency, liquidity, and other sources of risk and to capture some behavioral responses and feedback effects. But building models that measure correctly systemic risk and the contribution of individual institutions to it while, at the same time, relating the results to the established regulatory framework has proved more difficult. Looking forward, making macroprudential stress tests more effective would entail using a variety of analytical approaches and scenarios, integrating non-bank financial entities, and exploring the use of agent-based models. As well, macroprudential stress tests should not be used in isolation but be treated as complements to other tools and—crucially—be combined with microprudential perspectives.
Mr. Timothy C Irwin
The extent of fiscal transparency in Western Europe has varied over the centuries. Although ancient Greek, Roman, and medieval governments were sometimes open about their finances, the absolute monarchies of the 1600s and 1700s shrouded them in mystery. Factors that have encouraged transparency include (i) the sharing of political power and rulers’ need to persuade creditors to lend and taxpayers’ representatives to approve new taxes; (ii) the spread of technological innovations that reduce the costs of storing and transmitting information; and (iii) the acceptance of political theories that emphasize accountable government and public discussion of government policy.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This 2013 Article IV Consultation examines the performance of Sweden’s fiscal policies to counter effects of global financial crisis. Economic growth in Sweden has been moderate since global financial crisis of 2008–2009. The IMF report posits that with potential growth moderately weaker and the natural rate of unemployment to remain elevated, policies should focus on growth-enhancing reforms, especially in the labor market. It suggests that good policies that secure the soundness of Swedish international banking groups are expected to benefit borrowers not only in Sweden but across the region.