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G. Chris Rodrigo

All for One examines inequality and the many ways it matters. In our overview article, the World Bank's Branko Milanovic explains how income inequality is measured and tells us that it's increased in most countries. The good news, he says, is that global inequality--between countries--could be on the downturn. IMF economists Andrew Berg and Jonathan Ostry find that a more equal society has a greater likelihood of sustaining longer-term growth. Other IMF research on inequality finds that financial sector development not only 'enlarges the pie' by supporting economic growth but divides it more evenly; that higher income inequality in developed countries is associated with higher indebtedness--at home and abroad; and that while fiscal consolidation is necessary in the medium term, slamming on the brakes too quickly can harm jobs and cut wages, exacerbating inequality. Also in this issue, we profile Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize for economics. In a tour of the globe, we look at how the African diaspora can help their home countries from afar, try to draw some early lessons from the euro area's debt crisis, investigate how the United States and its neighbor Canada handled public debt--with different results, and find out about the rise of emerging markets as systemically important trading centers. Back to Basics explains the difference between micro- and macroeconomics, and Data Spotlight tells us about a new worldwide survey of foreign direct investment.

International Monetary Fund

This paper analyzes several issues regarding fiscal sustainability and fiscal adjustment in Brazil during 1990 and searches for econometric evidence of a monetary dominant regime during some subperiods. The following statistical data are also presented in detail: macroeconomic flows and balances, industrial production, consumer price index, relative public sector prices and tariffs, minimum wage statistics, financial system loans, monetary aggregates, exports by principal commodity groups, direction of trade, detailed balance of payments, total external debt, central government operations, and so on.

International Monetary Fund

This paper analyzes several issues regarding fiscal sustainability and fiscal adjustment in Brazil during 1990 and searches for econometric evidence of a monetary dominant regime during some subperiods. The following statistical data are also presented in detail: macroeconomic flows and balances, industrial production, consumer price index, relative public sector prices and tariffs, minimum wage statistics, financial system loans, monetary aggregates, exports by principal commodity groups, direction of trade, detailed balance of payments, total external debt, central government operations, and so on.

Ms. Natalia T. Tamirisa, Mr. Prakash Loungani, and Mr. Herman O. Stekler
We document information rigidity in forecasts for real GDP growth in 46 countries over the past two decades. We investigate: (i) if rigidities are lower around turning points in the economy, such as in times of recessions and crises; (ii) if rigidities differ across countries, particularly between advanced countries and emerging markets; and (iii) how quickly forecasters incorporate news about growth in other countries into their growth forecasts, with a focus on how advanced countries‘ growth forecasts incorporate news about emerging market growth and vice versa.
Mr. Philip Liu, Rafael Romeu, and Mr. Troy D Matheson
Macroeconomic policy decisions in real-time are based the assessment of current and future economic conditions. These assessments are made difficult by the presence of incomplete and noisy data. The problem is more acute for emerging market economies, where most economic data are released infrequently with a (sometimes substantial) lag. This paper evaluates "nowcasts" and forecasts of real GDP growth using five alternative models for ten Latin American countries. The results indicate that the flow of monthly data helps to improve forecast accuracy, and the dynamic factor model consistently produces more accurate nowcasts and forecasts relative to other model specifications, across most of the countries we consider.
Kingsley I. Obiora
Should policymakers still be concerned about economic growth in trading partners? Have developing and emerging market countries decoupled from the US enough to grow despite significant recession in the US? Using VAR models, this paper addresses these questions for Nigeria in the context of the global crisis. The results seem to debunk the "decoupling theory" and suggest there are still significant spillovers from Nigeria's main trading partners, including the US, with trade and commodity price linkages being the dominant transmission channels. Given the sharp fall in both trade financing and commodity prices in aftermath of the crisis, these results provide some explanation to the realization of adverse second-round effects in Nigeria.
Carlos Góes, Herman Kamil, Phil De Imus, Ms. Mercedes Garcia-Escribano, Mr. Roberto Perrelli, Mr. Shaun K. Roache, and Jeremy Zook
This paper examines the transmission of changes in the U.S. monetary policy to localcurrency sovereign bond yields of Brazil and Mexico. Using vector error-correction models, we find that the U.S. 10-year bond yield was a key driver of long-term yields in these countries, and that Brazilian yields were more sensitive to U.S. shocks than Mexican yields during 2010–13. Remarkably, the propagation of shocks from U.S. long-term yields was amplified by changes in the policy rate in Brazil, but not in Mexico. Our counterfactual analysis suggests that yields in both countries temporarily overshot the values predicted by the model in the aftermath of the Fed’s “tapering” announcement in May 2013. This study suggests that emerging markets will need to contend with potential spillovers from shifts in monetary policy expectations in the U.S., which often lead to higher government bond interest rates and bouts of volatility.
Mr. A. J Hamann and Mr. Alessandro Prati
Many inflation stabilizations succeed only temporarily. Using a sample of 51 episodes of stabilization from inflation levels above 40 percent, we show that most of the failures are explained by bad luck, unfavorable initial conditions, and inadequate political institutions. The evolution of trading partners' demand and U.S. interest rates captures the effect of bad luck. Past inflation affects the outcome in two different ways: a long history of high inflation makes failure more likely, while a high level of inflation prior to stabilization increases the chances of success. Countries with short-lived political institutions, a weak executive authority, and proportional electoral rules also tend to fail. After controlling for all these factors, we find that exchange-rate-based stabilizations are more likely to succeed. These findings are robust across measures of failure (two dichotomous and one continuous), sample selection criteria, and estimation techniques, including Heckman's correction for the endogeneity of the anchor.
Mr. Evan C Tanner
Ex-post deviations from uncovered interest parity (UIP) – realized differences between dollar returns on identical assets of different currencies – equal the real interest differential plus real exchange rate growth. Among industrialized countries, UIP deviations are largely explained by unanticipated real exchange rate growth, but among developing countries, real interest differentials are “where the action is.” This observation is due to the greater variability of inflation in developing countries, but may also stem from higher and more variable risks and capital controls in these countries. Also, among developing countries with moderate inflation, offsetting comovements of real interest differentials and real exchange growth support the sticky-price hypothesis.
Ms. Catherine A Pattillo and Mr. Andrew Berg
This paper evaluates three models for predicting currency crises that were proposed before 1997. The idea is to answer the question: if we had been using these models in late 1996, how well armed would we have been to predict the Asian crisis? The results are mixed but somewhat encouraging. One model, and our modifications to it, provide useful forecasts, at least compared with a naive benchmark. The head-to-head comparison also sheds light on the economics of currency crises, the nature of the Asian crisis, and issues in the empirical modeling of currency crises.