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Luis Franjo, Nathalie Pouokam, and Francesco Turino
In this paper we build a model of occupational choice with informal production and progressive income taxation. We calibrate the model to the Brazilian economy to evaluate the impact of removing financial frictions on informality. We find that financial deepening leads to a drop in the size of the informal sector (from 37 percent to 22 percent of official GDP), to an increase in measured TFP (by 4 percent), to an increase in official GDP (by 27 percent), to a decrease in tax evasion (by 17 percent) and to an increase in fiscal revenues (by 15 percent). When assessing the response of this policy at different levels of financial development, we find a non-linear relationship between the credit-to-GDP ratio on the one hand, and either the size of the informal economy, or GDP per capita on the other hand. We test these features with cross-country data and find evidence in favor of both types of non-linearity. We also investigate changes in the income tax progressitivity as an alternative policy and find it to be more effective in countries with a medium to high level of financial markets development.
Mr. Kangni R Kpodar, Mr. Maelan Le Goff, and Mr. Raju J Singh
This paper contributes to the literature by looking at the possible relevance of the structure of the financial system—whether financial intermediation is performed through banks or markets—for macroeconomic volatility, against the backdrop of increased policy attention on strengthening growth resilience. With low-income countries (LICs) being the most vulnerable to large and frequent terms of trade shocks, the paper focuses on a sample of 38 LICs over the period 1978-2012 and finds that banking sector development acts as a shock-absorber in poor countries, dampening the transmission of terms of trade shocks to growth volatility. Expanding the sample to 121 developing countries confirms this result, although this role of shock-absorber fades away as economies grow richer. Stock market development, by contrast, appears neither to be a shock-absorber nor a shock-amplifier for most economies. These findings are consistent across a range of econometric estimators, including fixed effect, system GMM and local projection estimates.
Mr. Rabah Arezki and Markus Bruckner
We use annual variation in rainfall to examine the effects that exogenous, transitory income shocks have on remittances in a panel of 42 Sub-Saharan African countries during the period 1960-2007. Our main finding is that these income shocks have a significant positive effect on remittances, but that the effect is significantly decreasing in the share of domestic credit to GDP. So much so, that at high levels of credit to GDP transitory increases in income had a significant negative effect on remittances. Our findings are consistent with the view that remittances take advantage of unexploited domestic investment opportunities that can exist due to domestic credit market frictions. Our findings also support the view that when barriers to financial flows are low, remittances effectively provide insurance against transitory income shocks.
Mr. Vassili Prokopenko and Mr. Paul Holden
This paper reviews current thinking on the relationship between financial development and poverty alleviation-a subject that has grown increasingly important in the policy prescriptions of the IMF and other international financial institutions in recent years. Although work on this issue is far from over, some important lessons can be learned from the existing evidence. The paper reflects on these lessons and looks at some of the policy implications of the analysis.