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Daniel Gurara, Mr. Giovanni Melina, and Luis-Felipe Zanna
Over the past seven years, the DIG and DIGNAR models have complemented the IMF and World Bank debt sustainability framework (DSF) analysis, over 65 country applications. They have provided useful insights in the context of program and surveillance work, based on qualitative and quantitative analysis of the macroeconomic effects of public investment scaling-ups. This paper takes stock of the model applications and extensions, and extract five common policy lessons from the universe of country cases. First, improving public investment efficiency and/or raising the rate of return of public projects raises growth and lowers the risks associated with debt sustainability. Second, prudent and gradual investment scaling-ups are preferable to aggressive front-loaded ones, in terms of private sector crowding-out effects, absorptive capacity constraints, and debt sustainability risks. Third, domestic revenue mobilization helps create fiscal space for investment scaling-ups, by effectively containing public debt surges and their later-on repayments. Fourth, aid smoothens fiscal adjustments associated with public investment increases and may lower the risks of unsustainable debt. Fifth, external savings mitigate Dutch disease macroeconomic effects and serve as fiscal buffers. The paper also discusses how these models were used to estimate the quantitative macro economic effects associated with these lessons.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Abstract

This report analyses the main economic developments and achievements in the Western Balkan countries, and lays out the key macroeconomic policy challenges for the future.

Ivanna Vladkova Hollar, Mr. Giovanni Dell'Ariccia, and Mr. Carlo Cottarelli
Following a period of privatization and restructuring, commercial banks in Central and Eastern Europe and, more recently, in the Balkans have rapidly expanded their lending to the private sector. This paper describes the causes of this expansion, assesses future trends, and evaluates its policy implications. It concludes that bank credit to the private sector is likely to continue rising faster than GDP in the next few years throughout the region, picking up also in countries where so far it has been stalled. Although this growth should be regarded as a structural and positive development, policymakers will have to evaluate carefully its implications for macroeconomic developments and financial stability.