International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
A year into the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the race between vaccine and virus entered a new phase in the Middle East and Central Asia, and the path to recovery in 2021 is expected to be long and divergent. The outlook will vary significantly across countries, depending on the pandemic’s path, vaccine rollouts, underlying fragilities, exposure to tourism and contact-intensive sectors, and policy space and actions. 2021 will be the year of policies that continue saving lives and livelihoods and promote recovery, while balancing the need for debt sustainability and financial resilience. At the same time, policymakers must not lose sight of the transformational challenges to build forward better and accelerate the creation of more inclusive, resilient, sustainable, and green economies. Regional and international cooperation will be key complements to strong domestic policies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused dramatic loss of human life and major damage to the European economy, but thanks to an exceptionally strong policy response, potentially devastating outcomes have been avoided.
A common legacy of banking crises is a large increase in government debt, as fiscal resources are used to shore up the banking system. Do crisis response strategies that commit more fiscal resources lower the economic costs of crises? Based on evidence from a sample of 40 banking crises we find that the answer is negative. In fact, policies that are riskier for the government budget are associated with worse, not better, post-crisis performance. We also show that parliamentary political systems are more prone to adopt bank rescue measures that are costly for the government budget. We take advantage of this relationship to instrument the policy response, thereby addressing concerns of joint endogeneity. We find no evidence that endogeneity is a source of bias.