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International Monetary Fund
The December 2015 IMF Research Bulletin features a sampling of key research from the IMF. The Research Summaries in this issue look at “The Impact of Deflation and Lowflation on Fiscal Aggregates (Nicolas End, Sampawende J.-A. Tapsoba, Gilbert Terrier, and Renaud Duplay); and “Oil Exporters at the Crossroads: It Is High Time to Diversify” (Reda Cherif and Fuad Hasanov). Mahvash Saeed Qureshi provides an overview of the fifth Lindau Meeting in Economics in “Meeting the Nobel Giants.” In the Q&A column on “Seven Questions on Financial Frictions and the Sources of the Business Cycle, Marzie Taheri Sanjani looks at the driving forces of the business cycle and macroeconomic models. The top-viewed articles in 2014 from the IMF Economic Review are highlighted, along with recent IMF Working Papers, Staff Discussion Notes, and IMF publications.
Mr. Ludvig Söderling
This paper analyzes the determinants of credit cyclicality. It constructs a financial development index and studies whether it affects the amplitude of impulse responses to shocks to output, terms of trade, global liquidity, and global risk appetite. The paper uses both country-specific VARs for cross-country analyses and panel VARs to compare impulse responses between various country groupings. The study finds evidence that financial development-especially stronger creditor rights-can mitigate credit cyclicality, given that the response of credit to output or terms of trade shocks is stronger in countries with weaker financial systems.
Zineddine Alla, Mr. Raphael A Espinoza, and Mr. Atish R. Ghosh
This paper analyzes the use of unconventional policy instruments in New Keynesian setups in which the ‘divine coincidence’ breaks down. The paper discusses the role of a second instrument and its coordination with conventional interest rate policy, and presents theoretical results on equilibrium determinacy, the inflation bias, the stabilization bias, and the optimal central banker’s preferences when both instruments are available. We show that the use of an unconventional instrument can help reduce the zone of equilibrium indeterminacy and the volatility of the economy. However, in some circumstances, committing not to use the second instrument may be welfare improving (a result akin to Rogoff (1985a) example of counterproductive coordination). We further show that the optimal central banker should be both aggressive against inflation, and interventionist in using the unconventional policy instrument. As long as price setting depends on expectations about the future, there are gains from establishing credibility by using any instrument that affects these expectations.
Mr. Damiano Sandri and Mr. Fabian Valencia
We develop a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model with financial frictions on both financial intermediaries and goods-producing firms. In this context, due to high leverage of financial intermediaries, balance sheet disruptions in the financial sector are particularly detrimental for aggregate output. We show that the welfare gains from recapitalizing the financial sector in response to large but rare net worth losses are as large as those from eliminating business cycle fluctuations. We also find that these gains are increasing in the size of the net worth loss, are larger when recapitalization funds are raised from the household rather than the real sector, and may increase with a reduction in financial intermediaries idiosyncratic risk.
Mai Chi Dao and Lucy Qian Liu
We study the effect of external financing constraint on job creation in emerging markets and developing countries (EMDC) at the firm level by looking at a specific transmission channel - the working capital channel. We develop a simple model to illustrate how the need for working capital financing of a firm affects the link between financial constraint and the firm's job creation. We show that the effect of relaxing financial constraint on job creation is greater the smaller the firm scale and the more labor-intensive its production structure. We use the World Bank Enterprise Surveys data to test the main predictions of the model, and find strong evidence for the working capital channel of external finance on firm employment.
Jihad Dagher
This paper proposes a tractable Sudden Stop model to explain the main patterns in firm level data in a sample of Southeast Asian firms during the Asian crisis. The model, which features trend shocks and financial frictions, is able to generate the main patterns observed in the sample during and following the Asian crisis, including the ensuing credit-less recovery, which are also patterns broadly shared by most Sudden Stop episodes as documented in Calvo et al. (2006). The model also proposes a novel explanation as to why small firms experience steeper declines than their larger peers as documented in this paper. This size effect is generated under the assumption that small firms are growth firms, to which there is support in the data. Trend shocks when combined with financial frictions in this model also generate strong leverage effects in line with what is observed in the sample, and with other observations from the literature.
Mr. Sonali Das and Mr. Volodymyr Tulin
This paper studies private investment in India against the backdrop of a significant investment decline over the past decade. We analyze the potential causes of weaker investment at the firm level, using both firm-level financial statements and a novel dataset on firms’ investment project decisions, and find that financial frictions have played a role in the slowdown. Firms with higher financial leverage invest less, as do firms with lower earnings relative to their interest expenses. Consistent with the notion of credit constraints leading to pro-cyclical investment, we also find that firms with higher leverage are (i) less likely to undertake new investment projects, (ii) less likely to complete investment projects once begun, and (iii) undertake shorter-term investment projects.