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International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This paper reports a brief description of the IMF and its activities, focusing in particular on its technical assistance (TA) activities. The report then describes in greater detail the Japan Administered Account for Selected Fund Activities (JSA)—including its objectives, size, scope, and use, as well as assessments of its activities, with a focus on fiscal year (FY) 2008—and the TA activities and scholarship programs that it finances. The IMF finances technical assistance for its member countries, devoting some 25 percent of its annual operating budget to TA work and training. Although most technical assistance is financed through internal resources, external financing from bilateral and multilateral partners has been increasing over the past few years and constitutes an important pillar. The responsibilities of the Regional Office in Tokyo include collaborative efforts between the IMF and Japan that strengthen economic prospects in the Asia-Pacific region, and also include support of various regional policy forums, such as Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and the Pacific Islands Forum.

Mr. Andreas Billmeier and Tommaso Nannicini
Studies of the impact of trade openness on growth are based either on cross-country analysis-which lacks transparency-or case studies-which lack statistical rigor. We apply transparent econometric methods drawn from the treatment evaluation literature to make the comparison between treated (i.e., open) and control (i.e., closed) countries explicit while remaining within a unified statistical framework. First, matching estimators highlight the rather far-fetched country comparisons underlying common cross-country results. When appropriately restricting the sample, we confirm a positive and significant effect of openness on growth. Second, we apply synthetic control methods-which account for endogeneity due to unobservable heterogeneity-to countries that liberalized their trade regime and we show that trade liberalization has often had a positive effect on growth.