Mr. Michael Gorbanyov, Majid Malaika, and Tahsin Saadi Sedik
The era of quantum computing is about to begin, with profound implications for the global economy and the financial system. Rapid development of quantum computing brings both benefits and risks. Quantum computers can revolutionize industries and fields that require significant computing power, including modeling financial markets, designing new effective medicines and vaccines, and empowering artificial intelligence, as well as creating a new and secure way of communication (quantum Internet). But they would also crack many of the current encryption algorithms and threaten financial stability by compromising the security of mobile banking, e-commerce, fintech, digital currencies, and Internet information exchange. While the work on quantum-safe encryption is still in progress, financial institutions should take steps now to prepare for the cryptographic transition, by assessing future and retroactive risks from quantum computers, taking an inventory of their cryptographic algorithms (especially public keys), and building cryptographic agility to improve the overall cybersecurity resilience.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This issue of Finance & Development focuses on how technology is driving growth. The issue looks at “transmission channels.” As with drive-through tellers, ever-more-powerful technology allows us to streamline, replacing less efficient practices (the drive-through teller) with more efficient ones (smartphone deposits). Other articles in this issue cover package chronicle technology’s power to transform: Sanjiv Ranjan Das examines big data’s influence on economics and finance; Aditya Narain documents the rise of a new breed of hybrid financial technology—fintech—firms; and Sharmini Coorey touts distance learning for better policymaking. The issue also examines the impact of remittances on monetary policy, de-dollarization in Peru, and the efficacy of public-private partnerships, among other topics. It also presents profile of Nancy Birdsall, the former head of the Center for Global Development, who has dedicated her career to fighting poverty and inequality through compelling research.
An influential theoretical literature has observed that economic diversification can reduce risk and increase financial development. But causality operates in both directions, as a well functioning financial system can enable a society to invest in more productive but risky projects, thereby determining the degree of economic diversification. Thus, ordinary least squares (OLS) estimates of the impact of economic diversification on financial development are likely to be biased. Motivated by the economic geography literature, this paper uses instruments derived from topographical characteristics to estimate the impact of economic diversification on the development of finance. The fourth estimates suggest a large and robust role for diversification in shaping financial development. And these results imply that, by impeding financial sector development, the concentration of economic activity common in developing countries can adversely affect financial and economic development.