Mr. Arvind Subramanian, Mr. Francesco Trebbi, and Mr. Dani Rodrik
We estimate the respective contributions of institutions, geography, and trade in determining cross-country income levels using recently developed instruments for institutions and trade. Our results indicate that the quality of institutions "trumps" everything else. Controlling for institutions, geography have at best weak direct effects on incomes, although it has a strong indirect effect through institutions. Similarly, controlling for institutions, trade has a negative, albeit, insignificant direct effect on income, although trade too has a positive effect on institutional quality. We relate our results to recent literature, and where differences exist, trace their origins to choices on samples, specification, and instrumentation.
This paper provides an assessment of the South African potential output for the period 1985-2010 by applying both structural and nonstructural estimation techniques. The analysis suggests that, while potential output growth steadily accelerated in the post-apartheid era to about 3 1/2 percent (1994-2008), it has decelerated considerably following the outbreak of the financial crisis, as was observed in other advanced and emerging economies. While this indicates that, at around -1 1/ 2 percent, the estimated 2010 output gap was lower than previously thought, there is a fair amount of uncertainty regarding its "true" magnitude, reflecting in part the backward looking nature of the estimation methods. The paper concludes that the potential growth is likely to gradually revert to its precrisis pace and the output gap to have closed by early 2012.
Structural policies have become a prominent feature of today’s macroeconomic policy discussion. For many countries, lackluster economic growth and high unemployment cloud the outlook. With fewer traditional policy options, policymakers are increasingly focused on the complementary role of structural policies in promoting more durable job-rich growth. In particular, the G20 has emphasized the essential role of structural reforms in ensuring strong, sustainable and balanced growth.
Against this backdrop, the 2014 Triennial Surveillance Review (TSR) called for further work to enhance the Fund’s ability to selectively provide more expert analysis and advice on structural issues, particularly where there is broad interest among member countries. The purpose of this paper is to engage the Board on staff’s post-TSR work toward strengthening the Fund’s capacity to analyze and, where relevant, offer policy advice on macro-relevant structural issues.