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  • Asia and Pacific x
  • Korea, Republic of x
  • Economic Development: Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure x
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Yang Liu, Di Yang, and Mr. Yunhui Zhao
Inflation has been rising during the pandemic against supply chain disruptions and a multi-year boom in global owner-occupied house prices. We present some stylized facts pointing to house prices as a leading indicator of headline inflation in the U.S. and eight other major economies with fast-rising house prices. We then apply machine learning methods to forecast inflation in two housing components (rent and owner-occupied housing cost) of the headline inflation and draw tentative inferences about inflationary impact. Our results suggest that for most of these countries, the housing components could have a relatively large and sustained contribution to headline inflation, as inflation is just starting to reflect the higher house prices. Methodologically, for the vast majority of countries we analyze, machine-learning models outperform the VAR model, suggesting some potential value for incorporating such models into inflation forecasting.
Jihad Dagher
Financial crises are traditionally analyzed as purely economic phenomena. The political economy of financial booms and busts remains both under-emphasized and limited to isolated episodes. This paper examines the political economy of financial policy during ten of the most infamous financial booms and busts since the 18th century, and presents consistent evidence of pro-cyclical regulatory policies by governments. Financial booms, and risk-taking during these episodes, were often amplified by political regulatory stimuli, credit subsidies, and an increasing light-touch approach to financial supervision. The regulatory backlash that ensues from financial crises can only be understood in the context of the deep political ramifications of these crises. Post-crisis regulations do not always survive the following boom. The interplay between politics and financial policy over these cycles deserves further attention. History suggests that politics can be the undoing of macro-prudential regulations.
Ms. Sonali Jain-Chandra, Min Jung Kim, Sung Ho Park, and Jerome Shin
Korea was hit hard by the 2008 global financial crisis, with the foreign bank deleveraging channel coming prominently into play. The global financial crisis demonstrated that a sharp deleveraging can be transmitted to emerging markets through the bank lending channel to a slowdown in credit growth. The analysis finds that a sharp decline in external funding led to relatively modest decline in domestic credit by Korean banks, due to concerted policy efforts by the government in 2008. Impulse responses from a Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) model calibrated to Korea shows that it appears better prepared to handle such shocks relative to 2008. Indeed, Korea is much more resilient to such shocks due to the efforts by the authorities, which has led to the strengthening of external buffers, such as higher foreign exchange reserves and bilateral and multilateral currency swap arrangements.
Ms. Elva Bova, Mr. Robert Dippelsman, Ms. Kara C Rideout, and Ms. Andrea Schaechter
When discussing debt reduction strategies, little attention has been given to the role of governments’ nonfinancial assets. This is in part because data are scarce. Drawing on various data sources, this paper looks at the size, composition, and management of state-owned nonfinancial assets across 32 economies, with particular focus on the advanced G-20 economies. We find that reported nonfinancial assets comprise mostly structures (such as roads and buildings) and,when valued, land. These assets have increased over time, mostly due to higher property and commodity prices, and are, in large part, owned by subnational governments. Many countries have launched reforms with a view to streamlining public administrations, but receipts and savings have been rather small so far. Governments tend to consider relatively small sets of assets to be disposable, though preferences could change in the future. A potential source for future revenues could be greater reliance on user charges, such as road tolls. In most cases, a first step for more effective asset management has to be the expansion and improvement of data compilation.