Mr. Benedicte Baduel, Asel Isakova, and Anna Ter-Martirosyan
Sharing economic benefits equitably across all segments of society includes addressing the specific challenges of different generations. At present, youth and elderly are particularly vulnerable to poverty relative to adults in their middle years. Broad-based policies should aim to foster youth integration into the labor market and ensure adequate income and health care support for the elderly. Turning to the intergenerational dimension, everyone should have the same chances in life, regardless of their family background. Policies that promote social mobility include improving access to high-quality care and education starting from a very early age, supporting lifelong learning, effective social protection schemes, and investing in infrastructure and other services to reduce spatial segregation.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with Estonia discusses that the outlook is favorable for the near term, however, for slower economic activity for the medium term. Th economy has performed well in recent years, supported by prudent management and effective structural reforms. Growth remains strong and unemployment is at a record low. Inflation is above the euro-area average, consistent with Estonia’s convergence process. Wages are rising, reflecting a tight labor market and skill shortages at the high end of the labor market. Absent reforms to boost productivity and manage demographic challenges, however, growth will slow notably. The authorities need to guard against potential overheating in the near term while taking advantage of sizable fiscal buffers in the medium term to support innovation and labor supply and reduce inequality. The report recommends that it is imperative to consider changes that preserve the pension system’s viability and sustainability, while promoting policies that address inequality. This includes raising female labor participation through broader implementation of gender pay transparency and flexible childcare arrangements.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the drivers of wage growth and inflation in Estonia. The analysis reveals that the role played by the inflation and inflation expectations in Estonia is different from those of the EU15. The impact of inflation on wage formation is smaller than in larger and richer countries with lower inflation volatility. This has limited the downward pressure on wages during the period of very low inflation in 2014–16. Although there has been an episode of wage growth leading inflation before the global financial crisis, the current simultaneous acceleration in prices and wages is not evidence of a developing wage-price spiral, as a significant share of the increase in inflation is owing to exogenous factors.
We undertake an extended discussion of the latest developments about the existing and new estimation methods of the shadow economy. New results on the shadow economy for 158 countries all over the world are presented over 1991 to 2015. Strengths and weaknesses of these methods are assessed and a critical comparison and evaluation of the methods is carried out. The average size of the shadow economy of the 158 countries over 1991 to 2015 is 31.9 percent. The largest ones are Zimbabwe with 60.6 percent, and Bolivia with 62.3 percent of GDP. The lowest ones are Austria with 8.9 percent, and Switzerland with 7.2 percent. The new methods, especially the new macro method, Currency Demand Approach (CDA) and Multiple Indicators Multiple Causes (MIMIC) in a structured hybrid-model based estimation procedure, are promising approaches from an econometric standpoint, alongside some new micro estimates. These estimations come quite close to others used by statistical offices or based on surveys.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that the economy of Lithuania has been gathering momentum, following sluggish performance in 2015 and most of 2016. Real GDP expanded by 3.9 percent in the first quarter of 2017 after rising by 2.3 percent in 2016. Strong private consumption, on the back of robust wage growth and low inflation that supported purchasing power, has long been a main driver of growth. Building on recent momentum, economic growth should be strong in 2017, rising to 3.2 percent. Improving external conditions and a turnaround in European funds absorption, as well as high capacity utilization, should spur exports and investment.