Five years after the first stirrings of the crisis, some countries have recovered, but others are still struggling. F&D looks at the world today and sees a complex and mixed picture for the future of the world economy. In "Tracking the Global Recovery" we learn that most emerging markets seem to have moved on from the effects of the crisis, but most advanced economies have not. "Fixing the System" looks at how the pace of reforms to strengthen financial regulation has now slowed. World Bank trade economist Bernard Hoekman takes stock of incipient moves toward protectionism in "Trade Policy: So Far So Good?". "Bystanders at the Collapse" looks at how emerging markets and low-income countries weathered the global recession. Financier Mohamed El-Erian weighs in on the potential threat posed by large payment surpluses and deficits in "Stable Disequilibrium." Also in the magazine, we explore what's happening in commodities markets, assess the rise of green technologies, take a look at the shifts in South Asia's labor force, and uncover the harm money laundering can inflict on national economies. F&D's People in Economics series profiles Laura Tyson, Minder of the Gaps, and the Back to Basics series explains how money markets provide a way for borrowers to meet short-term financial needs.
Recent technological developments and past technology transitions suggest that the world
could be on the verge of a profound shift in transportation technology. The return of the electric
car and its adoption, like that of the motor vehicle in place of horses in early 20th century,
could cut oil consumption substantially in the coming decades. Our analysis suggests that oil
as the main fuel for transportation could have a much shorter life span left than commonly
assumed. In the fast adoption scenario, oil prices could converge to the level of coal prices,
about $15 per barrel in 2015 prices by the early 2040s. In this possible future, oil could become
the new coal.
Ruchir Agarwal, Vybhavi Balasundharam, Patrick Blagrave, Mr. Eugenio M Cerutti, Ragnar Gudmundsson, and Racha Mousa
The South Asia region is both a large contributor to climate change and also one of the regions most vulnerable to climate change. This paper provides an overview of the region’s vulnerabilities, national committments to mitigate emissions, and national policies to adapt to a changing climate. The paper also discusses policy measures that may be needed to make further progress on both mitigation and adapatation. Our analysis suggests that while substantial progress is being made, there remains scope to adopt a more cohesive strategy to achieve the region’s goals—including by improving the monitoring and tracking of adaptation spending, and by laying the groundwork to equitably increase the effective price of carbon while protecting low-income and vulnerable households in the region.
Nicoletta Batini, Mario di Serio, Matteo Fragetta, and Mr. Giovanni Melina
This paper estimates multipliers for spending in clean energy and biodiversity conservation to help inform stimulus measures for a post-COVID-19 sustainable recovery. Using a new international dataset, part of which was especially assembled for this analysis, we find that every dollar spent on key carbon-neutral or carbon-sink activities—from zero-emission power plants to the protection of wildlife and ecosystems—can generate more than a dollar’s worth of economic activity. The estimated multipliers associated with green spending are about 2 to 7 times larger than those associated with non-eco-friendly expenditure, depending on sectors, technologies and horizons. These findings survive several robustness checks and suggest that ‘building back better’ could be a win-win for economies and the planet.
This paper surveys decision-making roles of governing bodies of central banks that have formally adopted inflation targeting as a monetary framework. Governance practices seek to balance institutional independence needed for monetary policy credibility with accountability required to protect democratic values. Central bank laws usually have price stability as the primary monetary policy objective but seldom require an explicit numerical inflation target. Governments are frequently involved in setting targets, but to ensure operational autonomy, legal provisions explicitly limit government influence in internal policy decision-making processes. Internal governance practices differ considerably with regard to the roles and inter-relationships between the policy, supervisory, and management boards of a central bank.
This paper discusses structure, impact, costs, and efficiency of renewable energy supply in the eight largest advanced economies (the G-7 plus Spain), with focus on Germany. Renewables production costs are compared to benefits, defined as reductions in net carbon emissions; technological innovation, and increased energy security. The latter part of the paper centers on Germany, the main European producer of non-traditional renewables. We question whether the level of subsidies can be justified, relative to other means to increase energy security and reduce carbon emissions. We also find an excessive emphasis on current productive activity, relative to development of new technologies.
This paper provides a framework for examining environment taxes. It reviews the theoretical efficiency of three types of environment taxes: taxes on emissions or Pigouvian taxes; taxes on productive inputs or consumer goods whose use is related to environmental damage; and environment-related provisions in other taxes. A survey of environment taxes in 42 countries--drawn from developing countries, economies in transition, and industrial countries--illustrates that the use of environment taxes differs dramatically from the recommendations of environment tax theory. This divergence between the theory and practice of environment taxes can be attributed to several factors; environment taxes are difficult to implement, there are many factors that impede their effectiveness, and their introduction may be discouraged by their implications for other policy objectives.