Is over-optimism about a country's future growth perspective good for an economy, or does
over-optimism also come with costs? In this paper we provide evidence that recessions, fiscal
problems, as well as Balance of Payment-difficulties are more likely to arise in countries
where past growth expectations have been overly optimistic. To examine this question, we
look at the medium-run effects of instances of over-optimism or caution in IMF forecasts. To
isolate the causal effect of over-optimism we take an instrumental variables approach, where
we exploit variation provided by the allocation of IMF Mission Chiefs across countries. As a
necessary first step, we document that IMF Mission Chiefs tend to systematically differ in
their individual degrees of forecast-optimism or caution. The mechanism that transforms
over-optimism into a later recession seems to run through higher debt accumulation, both
public and private. Our findings illustrate the potency of unjustified optimism and underline
the importance of basing economic forecasts upon realistic medium-term prospects.
Over the past two decades, many low- and lower-middle income countries (LLMICs) have improved control over fiscal policy, liberalized and deepened financial markets, and stabilized inflation at moderate levels. Monetary policy frameworks that have helped achieve these ends are being challenged by continued financial development and increased exposure to global capital markets. Many policymakers aspire to move beyond the basics of stability to implement monetary policy frameworks that better anchor inflation and promote macroeconomic stability and growth.
Many of these LLMICs are thus considering and implementing improvements to their monetary policy frameworks. The recent successes of some LLMICs and the experiences of emerging and advanced economies, both early in their policy modernization process and following the global financial crisis, are valuable in identifying desirable features of such frameworks.
This paper draws on those lessons to provide guidance on key elements of effective monetary policy frameworks for LLMICs.
Mrs. Alexandra Born, Mrs. Sarwat Jahan, and Mr. Edward R Gemayel
Inflation targeting (IT) is a relatively new monetary policy framework for low-income countries (LICs). The limited number of LICs with an IT framework and the short time that has elapsed since the adoption of this framework explains why there are no previous empirical studies on the performance of IT in LICs. This paper has made a first attempt at filling this gap. It finds that inflation targeting appears to be associated with lower inflation and inflation volatility. At the same time, there is no robust evidence of an adverse impact on output. This may explain the appeal of IT for many LICs, where building credibility of monetary policy is difficult and minimizing output costs of reducing inflation is imperative for social and political reasons.
Sophia Gollwitzer, Eteri Kvintradze, Mr. Tej Prakash, Luis-Felipe Zanna, Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Mr. Richard I Allen, Irene Yackovlev, and Victor Duarte Lledo
This paper presents, for the first time, multi-dimensional indices of the quality of budget institutions in low-income countries. The indices allow for benchmarking against the performance of middle-income countries, across regions, and according to different institutional arrangements that deliver good fiscal performance. Using the constructed indices, the paper provides preliminary empirical support for the hypotheses that strong budget institutions help improve fiscal balances and public external debt outcomes; and countries with stronger fiscal institutions have better scope to conduct countercyclical policies.
In May 2007, the IMF and World Bank Boards discussed the paper "Strengthening Debt Management Practices: Lessons from Country Experiences and Issues Going Forward". In those discussions, the Boards of both institutions endorsed a public debt management (PDM) work program that was particularly focused on strengthening frameworks and capacity in low-income countries (LICs). This comprised three main elements: (i) develop a toolkit to help LICs formulate an effective Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy (MTDS) and apply it in 4–6 countries a year; (ii) undertake debt management performance assessments; and (iii) continue the provision of debt management and domestic market development technical assistance (TA) and advisory services to middle-income countries (MICs). This paper is a response to the Boards' request for an update on the development and implementation of that work program.
Developing a Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy (MTDS)— Guidance Note for Country Authorities
Debt Management Performance Assessment Tool (DEMPA)
Developing a Medium Term Debt Management Strategy: User Guide and Analytical Tool — In March 2009, the Executive Boards of the World Bank and the IMF endorsed the Medium Term Debt Management Strategy (MTDS) Framework developed by IMF and World Bank staff to help countries elaborate effective debt management strategies. The MTDS framework and toolkit comprises two elements: An operational guidance note (GN) and a spreadsheet-based analytical tool (AT). The GN provides practical guidance on the process of developing an effective MTDS, describing each step involved, while the AT provides quantitative analysis to guide the MTDS decision-making process.
The objective of the joint Fund-Bank debt sustainability framework for low-income countries is to support LICs in their efforts to achieve their development goals without creating future debt problems. Countries that have received debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) need to be kept on a sustainable track. Under the framework, country DSAs are prepared jointly by Bank and Fund staff, with close collaboration between the two staffs on the design of the macroeconomic baseline, alternative scenarios, the debt distress rating, and the drafting of the write-up.
This paper reviews the Fund’s access policy under its main financing facilities in the General Resources Account (GRA) and under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). It responds to the Board’s request for a periodic review of the access policy, that is, the rules and practices that govern the amount of financing the Fund makes available to its members.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
John Lipsky's visit to South Africa and Mali, Latin American growth, Uruguay repays loan, Eastern Europe, Albania's economy, Belarus and Morocco, U.S. current account deficit, Francis Warnock, IMF governance, fiscal adjustment.