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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Abstract

Growth is strengthening and broadening across Europe, driven by buoyant domestic demand (Figure 1.1). Following a pickup in economic activity in the second half of 2016, the European economy accelerated further in the first half of 2017, with growth outcomes surprising on the upside in most countries.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Abstract

The countries of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe (CESEE) have made major progress in raising living standards over the past two and a half decades. This progress was supported by a radical transformation of their economies and institutions. Using case studies and empirical analysis, this chapter explores the role of internal and external factors, particularly accession to the European Union (EU), in supporting reforms to strengthen the effectiveness of the judiciary. The findings suggest that, beyond initial conditions, an enabling environment for judicial reforms was created by factors and policies that (1) improved the distribution of resources and opportunities, (2) upgraded rules and procedures to recruit and train civil servants, and (3) increased transparency and accountability. The European Union and the Council of Europe (CoE) acted as strong external anchors in catalyzing reforms. However, there were also some reversals of reforms, and the sustainability of reforms appears to depend mainly on domestic factors. These findings might offer insights in particular for countries aiming to join the European Union, but also for others seeking to improve the effectiveness of their judiciary.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Abstract

Income convergence in the Western Balkans has stalled at low levels.1 Measured in purchasing-power-parity (PPP) terms, income levels in the region today are less than 30 percent what they are in the euro area (Figure 3.1). Equally noteworthy, the ratio has not changed since 2008. This is in sharp contrast to the experience of the New Member States of the European Union (EU), where relative incomes have continued to grow strongly since the global financial crisis and are now at nearly two-thirds those of the euro area. There are many reasons for this disappointing performance,2 including an unfinished transition, exemplified in some countries by a large swath of inefficient state-owned enterprises; shortcomings in the rule of law and the business environment; limited human capital, exacerbated in some countries by significant emigration of qualified human resources, or “brain drain”; and scant and poor-quality public infrastructure. While acknowledging these issues, this chapter focuses on another important plank for the region’s development: the health of its banking sectors. Implicit is the assumption that, even if reforms in the other areas bring about high-quality bankable projects, their potential, and with it overall economic growth, will not be fully realized if banks are not in a good position to fund them.

Abstract

This volume, edited by Michel A. Dessart and Roland E. Ubogu, records the presentations made and discussions held during the Inaugural Seminar of the Joint Africa Institute (JAI). The JAI was established in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, by the African Development Bank, the IMF, and the World Bank to meet the pressing training needs of the African continent. The participants discussed four main topics: the changing role of the state, governance, and new capacity requirements; the challenge of achieving macroeconomic stability in Africa; the requirement for capacity building in Africa; and the role of international financial institutions in capacity building in Africa. The seminar was held in November 1999, but the topics and recommendations of the seminar remain current and of particular importance today. The seminar was held in English and French, and both language versions are contained in this volume. 240 pp. 2001

Mr. David John Goldsbrough, Mrs. Isabelle Mateos y Lago, Mr. Martin D Kaufman, Mr. Daouda Sembene, Mr. Tsidi M Tsikata, Mr. Steve K Mugerwa, Mr. Alex Segura-Ubiergo, and Mr. Jeff Chelsky

Abstract

In 1999, the IMF and the World Bank adopted a new frame work for supporting economic reform in low-income member countries to achieve the objectives of poverty reduction and economic growth. The frame work consists of two key elements: country-authored Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, drawing on broad-based consultations with key stake holder groups; and a vehicle for the provision of IMF concessional lending, the Poverty Reduction andGrowth Facility. This evaluation takes stock of progress to date and attempts to identify short comings that may require course corrections in the design and implementation of the initiative.

Mr. Prakash Loungani and Mr. Paolo Mauro
This paper documents the scale of capital flight from Russia, compares it with that observed in other countries, and reviews policy options. The evidence from other countries suggests that capital flight can be reversed once reforms take hold. The paper argues that capital flight from Russia can only be curbed through a medium-term reform strategy aimed at improving governance and macroeconomic performance, and strengthening the banking system. Capital controls result in costly distortions and should gradually be phased out as part of that medium-term strategy.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
The Web edition of the IMF Survey is updated several times a week, and contains a wealth of articles about topical policy and economic issues in the news. Access the latest IMF research, read interviews, and listen to podcasts given by top IMF economists on important issues in the global economy. www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/home.aspx
Mr. Michael Fabricius
This paper highlights the importance of institutions in explaining the variation of investment rates and of two measures of bank deposits across countries. A general index of economic security is created for 130 countries. Its explanatory power is compared with measures of specific institutional arrangements. For investment as well as for bank deposits, specific institutional factors are shown to be highly significant and outperform the general index.
Mr. David A. Grigorian and Mr. Maxym Kryshko
The paper uses a unique survey of remittance-receiving individuals from Tajikistan to study the impact of policy awareness on consumer behavior. The results show that knowledge of deposit insurance encourages the use of formal channels for transmitting remittances and reduces dollarization. Given the size and importance of remittances in Tajikistan, improving financial literacy and better publicizing details of the social safety net may encourage a more frequent use of formal channels for transferring remittances and reduce reliance on foreign exchange for transaction purposes. This is likely to improve bank profitability, enhance financial stability, and improve access to finance.
Stacy Carlson, Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Mika Saito, and Ms. Yu Shi
We examine the role of household financial access in determining the extent of risksharing in Nigeria using household-level panel data. We estimate changes in the response of consumption to shocks for households with formal and informal access to finance and those without, both for the country as a whole and for different regions. Our findings suggest that households with financial access who experience an unexpected negative income shock see consumption fall by 15 percentage points less than those without access. This result is mainly driven by households with informal financial access, and by household savings rather than borrowing. Regional variation in risk sharing tends to be significant, suggesting that financial inclusion efforts going forward should have a more regional focus.