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Mrs. Paola Ganum and Mr. Vimal V Thakoor
Covid-19 has exacerbated economic and social vulnerabilities across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). There is a risk that growth could be lower for longer, with a setback to development. Post-pandemic reforms thus become even more important, especially with constrained scope for fiscal and monetary stimuli. Reforms could boost per capita growth by an additional 0.3-1.3 percentage points, relative to the 1.9 percent average since 2010. Such growth would reduce per capita income doubling time from 37 years to about 22 years. Low-income countries stand to gain the most from reforms. The largest gains come from governance, products markets, and factor accumulation. Importantly, these reforms can be implemented in the post-pandemic environment characterized by weaker social and distributional outcomes.
Mr. Itai Agur
The deferred recognition of COVID-induced losses at banks in many countries has reignited the debate on regulatory forbearance. This paper presents a model where the public's own political pressure drives regulatory policy astray, because the public is poorly informed. Using probabilistic game stages, the model parameterizes how time consistent policy is. The interaction between political motivations and time consistency is novel and complex: increased policy credibility can entice the politically-motivated regulator to act in the public's best interest, or instead repel it from doing so. Considering several regulatory instruments, the paper probes the nexus of political pressure, perverse bank incentives and time inconsistent policy.
Mr. Robert Blotevogel, Eslem Imamoglu, Mr. Kenji Moriyama, and Mr. Babacar Sarr
We study the channels that theoretically transmit the effects of inequality to economic growth, unlike much of the existing literature that focuses on the direct linkage. The role of inequality in these transmission channels is difficult to pin down and varies with the particular inequality indicator chosen. We run our analyses with six methodologically distinct inequality measures (Gini coefficients and Top10 income shares). Methodological differences within the set of Gini coefficients and the Top10 income shares exert a first-order impact on the estimated relationships, which is generally larger than the effect of switching between Gini and Top10 income shares. For a given inequality indicator, we find that the transmission channels can react in opposite directions, with the net effect on growth difficult to determine. Finally, we emphasize two additional but so far underappreciated empirical complications: (i) estimated relationships change over time; and (ii) fragile countries create significant but counterintuitive empirical associations that may obscure structural relationships.
Ms. Deniz O Igan and Thomas Lambert
In this paper, we discuss whether and how bank lobbying can lead to regulatory capture and have real consequences through an overview of the motivations behind bank lobbying and of recent empirical evidence on the subject. Overall, the findings are consistent with regulatory capture, which lessens the support for tighter rules and enforcement. This in turn allows riskier practices and worse economic outcomes. The evidence provides insights into how the rising political power of banks in the early 2000s propelled the financial system and the economy into crisis. While these findings should not be interpreted as a call for an outright ban of lobbying, they point in the direction of a need for rethinking the framework governing interactions between regulators and banks. Enhanced transparency of regulatory decisions as well as strenghtened checks and balances within the decision-making process would go in this direction.
Patrick A. Imam and Mr. Kangni R Kpodar
This paper analyzes the impact of citizenship laws on economic development. We first document the evolution of citizenship laws around the world, highlighting the main features of jus soli, jus sanguinis as well as mixed regimes, and shedding light on the channels through which they could have differentiated impact on economic development. We then compile a data set of citizenship laws around the world. Using cross-country regressions, panel-data techniques, as well as the synthetic control method and subjecting the results to a battery of tests, we find robust evidence that jus soli laws—being more inclusive—lead to higher income levels than alternative citizenship rules in developing countries, though to a less extent in countries with stronger institutional environment.
Mr. Tito Boeri, Ms. Prachi Mishra, Mr. Chris Papageorgiou, and Mr. Antonio Spilimbergo
Populists claim to be the only legitimate representative of the people. Does it mean that there is no space for civil society? The issue is important because since Tocqueville (1835), associations and civil society have been recognized as a key factor in a healthy liberal democracy. We ask two questions: 1) do individuals who are members of civil associations vote less for populist parties? 2)does membership in associations decrease when populist parties are in power? We answer thesequestions looking at the experiences of Europe, which has a rich civil society tradition, as well as of Latin America, which already has a long history of populists in power. The main findings are that individuals belonging to associations are less likely by 2.4 to 4.2 percent to vote for populist parties, which is large considering that the average vote share for populist parties is from 10 to 15 percent. The effect is strong particularly after the global financial crisis, with the important caveat that membership in trade unions has unclear effects.
Mr. David Amaglobeli, Mr. Valerio Crispolti, Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Pooja Karnane, and Florian Misch
This paper describes a new, comprehensive database of tax policy measures in 23 advanced and emerging market economies over the last four decades. We extract this information from more than 900 OECD Economic Surveys and 37,000 tax-related news from the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation using text-mining techniques. The innovation of this dataset lies in its granularity: changes in the rates and bases of personal and corporate income taxes, value added and sale taxes, social security contributions, excise, and property taxes are systematically documented. In addition, the database provides information on the announcement and implementation dates, whether the measures represent major changes, are part of a broader tax package, and phased in over several years. The paper also presents a range of stylized facts suggesting that information from this database is useful to deepen the analysis of tax policy changes for research and policy purposes.