Mr. Rodrigo Garcia-Verdu, Alexis Meyer-Cirkel, Akira Sasahara, and Hans Weisfeld
This paper estimates agricultural total factor productivity (TFP) in 162 countries between 1991 and 2015 and aims to understand sources of cross-country variations in agricultural TFP levels and its growth rates. Two factors affecting agricultural TFP are analyzed in detail – imported intermediate inputs and climate. We first show that these two factors are independently important in explaining agricultural TFP – imported inputs raise agricultural TFP; and higher temperatures and rainfall shortages impede TFP growth, particularly in low-income countries (LICs). We also provide a new evidence that, within LICs, those with a higher import component of intermediate inputs seem to be more shielded from the negative impacts of weather shocks.
Mr. Montfort Mlachila, Rene Tapsoba, and Mr. Sampawende J Tapsoba
This paper proposes a new quality of growth index (QGI) for developing countries. The index encompasses both the intrinsic nature and social dimensions of growth, and is computed for over 90 countries for the period 1990-2011. The approach is premised on the fact that not all growth is created equal in terms of social outcomes, and that it does matter how one reaches from one level of income to another for various theoretical and empirical reasons. The paper finds that the quality of growth has been improving in the vast majority of developing countries over the past two decades, although the rate of convergence is relatively slow. At the same time, there are considerable cross-country variations across income levels and regions. Finally, emprirical investigations point to the fact that main factors of the quality of growth are political stability, public pro-poor spending, macroeconomic stability, financial development, institutional quality and external factors such as FDI.
Mr. Adolfo Barajas, Mr. Ralph Chami, and Mr. Seyed Reza Yousefi
A large theoretical and empirical literature has focused on the impact of financial deepening on economic growth throughout the world. This paper contributes to the literature by investigating whether this impact differs across regions, income levels, and types of economy. Using a rich dataset for 150 countries for the period 1975–2005, dynamic panel estimation results suggest that the beneficial effect of financial deepening on economic growth in fact displays measurable heterogeneity; it is generally smaller in oil exporting countries; in certain regions, such as the Middle East and North Africa (MENA); and in lower-income countries. Further analysis suggests that these differences might be driven by regulatory/supervisory characteristics and related to differences in the ability to provide widespread access to financial services.
Mr. Yasser Abdih, Mr. Ralph Chami, Mr. Christian H Ebeke, and Mr. Adolfo Barajas
This paper identifies a remittances channel that transmits exogenous shocks, such as business cycles in remittance-sending countries, to the public finances of remittance-receiving countries. Using panel data for remittance-receiving countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, three types of results emerge. First, remittances appear to be strongly procyclical vis-à-vis sending country income. Second, remittances tend to be spent on consumption of both imported and domestically produced goods, rather than on investment. Third, shocks in the sending countries are transmitted via remittances to the public finances - specifically, tax revenues - of receiving countries. In the case of the 2009 global downturn, this impact was particularly strong for several countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia, whereas in the subsequent recovery in 2010 virtually all receiving countries benefitted from an upturn in remittance-driven tax revenues.
The paper analyzes how the UNDP, the World Bank, and the IMF classify countries based on their level of development. These systems are found lacking in clarity with regard to their underlying rationale. The paper argues that a country classification system based on a transparent, data-driven methodology is preferable to one based on judgment or ad hoc rules. Such an alternative methodology is developed and used to construct classification systems using a variety of proxies for development attainment.
In light of the multilateral effort to ensure the adequacy of the financial resources available to the International Monetary Fund (the “Fund”), and with a view to supporting the Fund’s ability to provide timely and effective balance of payments assistance to its members, the Bank of Slovenia agrees to lend to the Fund an SDR-denominated amount up to the equivalent of EUR 280 million, on the terms and conditions set out in this paper.
This paper examines the impact of oil-related income, among other fundamentals, on the equilibrium real effective exchange rate (ERER) in Syria. After reviewing the evolution of the Syrian multiple exchange rate regime since 1960 and assessing alternative measures for the exchange rate, the paper analyzes the impact of oil-related income on the ERER in the context of a behavioral equilibrium exchange rate model. The analysis concludes that ERER appreciates with higher oil-related income, productivity and net foreign assets, but, at odds with the conventional wisdom, depreciates with higher government expenditures given that an increase in expenditures usually translates into higher imports and weaker current account position. In light of the projected real shocks associated with the depletion of oil and the change in other fundamentals in the context of the ongoing transition to a market economy, a more flexible regime would serve Syria better in the future.