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Mr. Yifei Huang and Mr. Raju J Singh
Recent studies on the relationship between financial development and poverty have been inconclusive. Some claim that, by allowing more entrepreneurs to obtain financing, financial development improves the allocation of capital, which has a particularly large impact on the poor. Others argue that it is primarily the rich and politically connected who benefit from improvements in the financial system. This paper looks at a sample of 37 countries in sub-Saharan Africa from 1992 through 2006. Its results suggest that financial deepening could narrow income inequality and reduce poverty, and that stronger property rights reinforce these effects. Interest rate and lending liberalization alone could, however, be detrimental to the poor if not accompanied by institutional reforms, in particular stronger property rights and wider access to creditor information.
Sharjil M. Haque
We study the impact of the COVID-19 recession on capital structure of publicly listed U.S. firms. Our estimates suggest leverage (Net Debt/Asset) decreased by 5.3 percentage points from the pre-shock mean of 19.6 percent, while debt maturity increased moderately. This de-leveraging effect is stronger for firms exposed to significant rollover risk, while firms whose businesses were most vulnerable to social distancing did not reduce leverage. We rationalize our evidence through a structural model of firm value that shows lower expected growth rate and higher volatility of cash flows following COVID-19 reduced optimal levels of corporate leverage. Model-implied optimal leverage indicates firms which did not de-lever became over-leveraged. We find default probability deteriorates most in large, over-leveraged firms and those that were stressed pre-COVID. Additional stress tests predict value of these firms will be less than one standard deviation away from default if cash flows decline by 20 percent.
Ms. Anna Scherbina
Why do asset price bubbles continue to appear in various markets? This paper provides an overview of recent literature on bubbles, with significant attention given to behavioral models and rational models with frictions. Unlike the standard rational models, the new literature is able to model the common characteristics of historical bubble episodes and offer insights for how bubbles are initiated and sustained, the reasons they burst, and why arbitrage forces do not routinely step in to squash them. The latest U.S. real estate bubble is described in the context of this literature.
Mr. Garry J. Schinasi
The main objective of this paper is to propose a definition of financial stability that has some practical and operational relevance. Financial stability is defined in terms of its ability to facilitate and enhance economic processes, manage risks, and absorb shocks. Moreover, financial stability is considered a continuum: changeable over time and consistent with multiple combinations of the constituent elements of finance. The paper also discusses several practical implications of the definition that should be considered when using it for policy analysis or developing an analytical framework.
International Monetary Fund
This paper examines the emergence of financial stability as a key policy objective. It discusses the underlying trends in the financial system, as well as the role of finance in relation to money, the real economy, and public policy. Financial stability is defined in terms of its ability to help the economic system allocate resources, manage risks, and absorb shocks. Moreover, financial stability is considered a continuum, changeable over time and consistent with multiple combinations of its constituent elements. On the basis of these concepts, a framework is presented that comprises an encompassing analysis and assessment of financial stability, and maps out broad policy implications.
Mr. Maria Soledad Martinez Peria and Mr. Sergio L. Schmukler
This short paper reviews recent literature on the use of long-term finance in developing economies (relative to advanced ones) to identify where long-term financing occurs, and what role different financial intermediaries and markets play in extending this type of financing. Although banks are the most important providers of credit, they do not seem to offer long-term financing. Capital markets have grown since the 1990s and can provide financing at fairly long terms. But few firms use these markets. Only some institutional investors provide funding at long-term maturities. Governments might help to expand long-term financing, although with limited policy tools.
Mr. Robert M Heath
The System of National Accounts 1993 (1993 SNA) provided new standards for the statistical treatment of financial derivatives. Subsequently, financial derivative markets have evolved, and there have been requests from national statisticians for clarification and amplification of the recommendations in the 1993 SNA and the fifth edition of the IMF’s Balance of Payments Manual (BPM5). Meeting this need is the main purpose of this working paper. Its recommendations have been widely discussed in international meetings and have been approved by bodies that effect changes in the 1993 SNA and BPM5.
Mr. Olaf Unteroberdoerster and Ms. Runchana Pongsaparn
The paper shows that Asia's degree of financial integration, both with the world and within the region remains low by various measures. The paper also provides empirical evidence that greater financial integration can support economic rebalancing in statistically meaningful ways. The implication is that in the debate on managing capital inflows the longer-term benefits of financial openness for broader-based growth should not be forgotten.
Mr. Alexander Massara and André Mialou
This paper leverages the IMF’s Financial Access Survey (FAS) database to construct a new composite index of financial inclusion. The topic of financial inclusion has gathered significant attention in recent years. Various initiatives have been undertaken by central banks both in advanced and developing countries to promote financial inclusion. The issue has also attracted increasing interest from the international community with the G-20, IMF, and World Bank Group assuming an active role in developing and collecting financial inclusion data and promoting best practices to improve financial inclusion. There is general recognition among policy makers that financial inclusion plays a significant role in sustaining employment, economic growth, and financial stability. Nonetheless, the issue of its robust measurement is still outstanding. The new composite index uses factor analysis to derive a weighting methodology whose absence has been the most persistent of the criticisms of previous indices. Countries are then ranked based on the new composite index, providing an additional analytical tool which could be used for surveillance and policy purposes on a regular basis.