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Nicoletta Batini, Ian Parry, and Mr. Philippe Wingender
Denmark has a highly ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 70 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. While there is general agreement that carbon pricing should be the centerpiece of Denmark’s mitigation strategy, pricing needs to be effective, address equity and leakage concerns, and be reinforced by additional measures at the sectoral level. The strategy Denmark develops can be a good prototype for others to follow. This paper discusses mechanisms to scale up domestic carbon pricing, compensate households, and possibly combine pricing with a border carbon adjustment. It also recommends the use of revenue-neutral feebate schemes to strengthen mitigation incentives, particularly for transportation and agriculture, fisheries and forestry, though these schemes could also be applied more widely.
Mrs. Jana Bricco, Florian Misch, and Alexandra Solovyeva
This paper examines the economic effects of policies to contain Covid-19, by extracting lessons from Sweden’s experience during the ‘Great Lockdown’. Sweden’s approach was less stringent and based more on social responsibility than legal obligations compared to European peers. First, we provide an account of Sweden’s strategy and the health outcomes. Second, drawing on a range of data sources and empirical findings, our analysis of the first Covid-19 wave indicates that a less stringent strategy can soften the economic impact initially. These benefits could be eroded subsequently, due to potentially higher infection rates and a prolonged pandemic, but in Sweden’s case, the evidence remains mixed in this regard, and it is premature to judge the outcome of Sweden’s containment strategy. In addition, the economic effects of the containment strategy also depend on social behavior, demographics and structural features of the economy, such as the degree of export orientation, reliance on global supply chains, and malleability to remote working.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
Denmark’s insurance sector is highly developed with a particularly high penetration and density in the life sector. Traditionally, work-related life insurance and pension savings are offered as a combined package, and life insurance companies dominate the market for mandatory pension schemes for employees. The high penetration explains the overall size of the insurance sector, which exceeds those of peers from other Nordic countries and various other EU member states. Assets managed by the insurance industry amounted to 146 percent of the GDP at end-2018, compared to 72 percent for the EU average.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper summarizes Nordea’s operations and business model; the macroeconomic and prudential implications of the move; and policy responses taken so far. The IMF staff’s assessment is that banking supervision in the euro area has improved significantly following the creation of the Single Supervisory Mechanism, which should mitigate potential risks from Nordea’s move; meanwhile, the Nordic authorities have done much, in conjunction with the European Central Bank, to ensure that potential gaps and fragmentation across national jurisdictions are avoided. The resolution framework is designed to prevent taxpayers having to bail out banks, but is new, and work on building the crisis preparedness of euro area banks is still under way. The banking union is not yet complete, details of the backstop for the Single Resolution Fund need to be finalized and a common euro area deposit insurance should be made fully operational. At the same time, Nordea is also operating in non-euro area member states—maintaining cooperation between euro area and noneuro area institutions remains important.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This paper discusses Finland’s public sector balance sheet. The public sector balance sheet approach expands analysis of public finances beyond government debt to also include government assets, public corporations, and pension liabilities. For Finland, it shows that static public sector net worth is negative at some 160 percent of GDP. This implies that Finland’s future fiscal balances and policies will have to be sufficiently strong to compensate, and also to address future spending pressures from rising health and long-term care. The intertemporal balance sheet shows that Finland’s current medium-term fiscal framework meets this criterion—but only if health and social services reform achieves the targeted savings in public spending during the 2020s. In light of numerous risks it would be prudent to use the present economic upswing to make early headway in rebuilding buffers. Finland has a track record of prudent fiscal policy. During good economic times, the authorities have run sizable fiscal surpluses.