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International Monetary Fund
This paper on the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) on the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) explains macroeconomic, structural, and social policies in support of growth and poverty reduction, as well as associated external financing needs and major sources of financing. The Lao PDR’s long-term national development goal is to be achieved through sustained equitable economic growth and social development, while safeguarding the country’s social, cultural, economic, and political identity. The government’s sustained effort to eradicate poverty will become a mass mobilization exercise, empowering local communities and providing a coherent framework for mutually supportive actions by all stakeholders.
Klaus-Peter Hellwig
I regress real GDP growth rates on the IMF’s growth forecasts and find that IMF forecasts behave similarly to those generated by overfitted models, placing too much weight on observable predictors and underestimating the forces of mean reversion. I identify several such variables that explain forecasts well but are not predictors of actual growth. I show that, at long horizons, IMF forecasts are little better than a forecasting rule that uses no information other than the historical global sample average growth rate (i.e., a constant). Given the large noise component in forecasts, particularly at longer horizons, the paper calls into question the usefulness of judgment-based medium and long-run forecasts for policy analysis, including for debt sustainability assessments, and points to statistical methods to improve forecast accuracy by taking into account the risk of overfitting.
Max Watson, Ms. Christina Daseking, and Mr. Craig Beaumont

Finland’s economy has rebounded impressively from a deep crisis in the early 1990s, and its public finances have been rebuilt. On this sound foundation, the authorities face new challenges in the coming decade, including the impact of a rapidly aging population, risks of overheating in the real economy and asset markets, and high structural unemployment.