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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes investment slowdown in Denmark. The post-global financial crisis (GFC) weakness in Denmark’s aggregate investment cannot be fully explained by the output slowdown. The baseline accelerator model confirms that output slowdown played a role, but post-GFC investment has fallen beyond the level explained by output movements in most of the post-GFC period. Most recently, investment converged to the level explained by output movements. The augmented accelerator model suggests that additional factors, such as high leverage, weak competition, and elevated policy uncertainty, also had a significant impact. Panel regressions using a panel of advanced economies show that reduction in leverage and product market reforms can boost investment in the medium term. Well-designed policies are needed to boost private investment.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper illustrates the recent evolution in Belgian housing prices. Belgian housing prices peaked at the end of 2013 after a persistent increase that was almost continuous for 30 years. The stabilization of prices, combined with policy changes on the fiscal and macro-prudential fronts, raises the question how housing prices are likely to evolve and how a price decline would affect the Belgian economy. The paper assesses the risk of a rapid price correction and the potential repercussions for the real economy. It also argues that an orderly and limited decline in housing prices—coupled with a marginal negative effect on the real economy—is the most plausible scenario.
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.
S. M. Ali Abbas, Laura Blattner, Mark De Broeck, Ms. Asmaa A ElGanainy, and Malin Hu
We examine how the composition of public debt, broken down by currency, maturity, holder profile and marketability, has responded to major debt accumulation and consolidation episodes during 1900-2011. Covering thirteen advanced economies, we focus on debt structure shifts that occurred around the two World Wars and global economic downturns, and the subsequent debt consolidations. Notwithstanding data gaps, we are able to recover some broad common patterns. Episodes of large debt accumulation—essentially, large increases in debt supply— were typically absorbed by increases in short-term, foreign currency-denominated, and banking-system-held debt. However, this pattern did not hold during the debt build-ups starting in the 1980s and 1990s, which were compositionally skewed toward long-term local-currency debt. We attribute this change to higher structural demand for sovereign paper, linked to capital account liberalization in advanced economies, the emergence of a large contractual saving sector, and innovative sovereign debt products. With regard to debt consolidations, we find support for the financial repression-cum-inflation channel for post World War II debt reductions. However, the scope for a repeat of this strategy appears limited unless financial liberalization and globalization were materially rolled back or the current globally agreed monetary policy regime built around price stability abandoned. Neither are significant favorable structural demand shifts, as witnessed in the 1980s and 1990s, likely.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues Paper analyzes the fiscal position and significant challenges for Luxembourg. Luxembourg’s fiscal position is currently sound, however, fiscal safety buffers are being eroded. The country’s healthy fiscal position will be challenged by forthcoming revenue losses as well as rapid trend growth in expenditures. An overall strategy to address this coming deterioration is needed. Beyond the planned value-added tax increase, recurrent property taxes are a possible additional source of revenue. On expenditures, social benefits should be an area of focus, and reforms of these benefits should also aim to reduce disincentives to work.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.


The October 2012 World Economic Outlook (WEO) assesses the prospects for the global recovery in light of such risks as the ongoing euro area crisis and the "fiscal cliff" facing U.S. policymakers. Reducing the risks to the medium-term outlook implies reducing public debt in the major advanced economies, and Chapter 3 explores 100 years of history of dealing with public debt overhangs. In emerging market and developing economies, activity has been slowed by policy tightening in response to capacity constraints, weaker demand from advanced economies, and country-specific factors, but policy improvements have raised these economies' resilience to shocks, an issue explored in depth in Chapter 4.

Mr. Xavier Debrun
Despite growing interest among policymakers, there is no theory of independent fiscal institutions. The emerging literature on "fiscal councils" typically makes informal parallels with the theory of central bank independence, but a very simple formal example shows that such a shortcut is flawed. The paper then illustrates key features of a model of independent fiscal agencies, and in particular the need (1) to incorporate the intrinsically political nature of fiscal policy - which precludes credible delegation of instruments to unelected decisionmakers - and (2) to focus on characterizing "commitment technologies" likely to credibly increase fiscal discipline.
International Monetary Fund
This paper documents and analyzes crisis-related changes in government debt issuance practices in the 16 euro zone countries and Denmark. Using a newly constructed database on primary market debt issuance during 2007-09, we find evidence of a shift away from pre-crisis standards of best funding practices competitive auctions of debt instruments with a fixed coupon, long maturity and local currency denomination (DLTF). Exploiting the cross-country panel data dimension of the data, we conclude that the crisis and related changes in the macroeconomic environment and investor sentiment can account for a significant proportion of the deviation. The negative effect of the crisis on DLTF debt issuance was especially pronounced in high deficit and high debt euro area countries, and has forced governments to assume additional risk.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper studies Luxembourg’s economic growth performance of the past two decades with a view to shedding light on the growth prospects and fiscal implications. The paper investigates whether the recent weakness in activity is largely transitory or whether it heralds a new era of lower potential output growth. The paper also explains one option for reforming the pay-as-you-go pension pillar, which is to link pension benefits to the contributions base through a “solidarity factor.”