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Johannes Eugster
This paper studies the effect of climate change mitigating policies on innovation in clean energy technologies. Results suggest that the tightening of environmental policies since the early 1990s have made a statistically and economically significant contribution to the increase in clean innovation. These effects generally materialized quickly, within 2 to 3 years of the policy change, and were driven by individually significant marginal effects of both market-based policies – such as feed-in tariffs and trading schemes – as well as non-market policies, such as R&D subsidies or emission limits. Looking at electricity innovation in particular, the paper finds that the estimated effect on total innovation is positive on net, meaning that increased innovation in clean and grey technologies is not offset by a decrease in innovation in dirty technologies. From a policy point of view, the paper’s results call for strong policy efforts to decisively shift innovation towards clean technologies.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
The scenario planning exercises help to draw out the surveillance priorities and stress- test the robustness of those priorities to uncertainties in the decade ahead. To inform the two priorities on confronting risks and uncertainties and mitigating spillovers, the scenarios illustrate how different shocks and alternative policy approaches carry their own risks and can have both positive and negative spillovers. The scenarios also illustrate some of the complex economic and non-economic factors that feed into the priority on economic sustainability and demonstrate how resource constraints and changing economic structures underpin the need for a unified policy approach.
Aidar Abdychev, Cristian Alonso, Mr. Emre Alper, Mr. Dominique Desruelle, Siddharth Kothari, Yun Liu, Mathilde Perinet, Sidra Rehman, Mr. Axel Schimmelpfennig, and Preya Sharma
Far-reaching changes in technology, climate, and global economic integration are transforming the world of work in ways that we do not yet fully understand. Will the swift technological advances of the Fourth Industrial Revolution raise the standards of living for everyone? Or will robots massively displace workers leading to a jobless future where only a few benefit from the fruits of innovation? Will mitigation efforts be able to cushion the adverse effects of climate change, including food shortages and mass migration, which would place extra pressure on urban labor markets? Will countries continue to integrate commercially and financially, fostering growth and employment? Or will trade wars become a norm in a world increasingly fragmented and inward-looking? In sub-Saharan Africa, these uncertainties meet a dramatic increase in population and a rapid expansion in the labor force, which is becoming increasingly urban.
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This paper discusses that from shifting demographics to climate change, Southeast Asia confronts a host of challenges. Summoning them will require both resilience and flexibility. Advances in artificial intelligence, including robotics, together with innovations such as 3-D printing and new composite materials, will transform manufacturing processes, making them less labor-intensive while creating opportunities for new products. This will enable new ways of making things and change the drivers of competitiveness. There will be indirect effects as well. For example, aircraft manufacturers, taking advantage of new composite materials such as carbon fibers, have developed a class of superlong-haul aircraft that could bring more tourists to Southeast Asia as relatively cheap point-to-point travel options emerge. The region should still enjoy synergies from globalization and other modes of economic integration, but the form and shape of such integration could change. For Southeast Asia, the next couple of decades could prove exhilarating in terms of the opportunities presented by technology and global growth, but also tumultuous because of the continuing risks, such as those posed by an unreformed and unstable international financial architecture. There clearly is much hard work to be done. Policymakers still have not gotten everything right, but they are heading in the right direction.
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This issue focuses on recent experiences that holds lessons for when to tackle debt and when not to. Growth is picking up, and the IMF has been ratcheting up its forecasts. Government coffers are filling and, with more people at work, demand for public social support is receding. Research shows that the stimulatory effect of fiscal expansion is weak when the economy is close to capacity. Low-income economies may be at greatest risk. Traditionally, they borrowed from official creditors at below-market rates. Higher global rates could divert precious budget resources to debt servicing from crucial infrastructure projects and social services. Raising budget balances toward their medium-term targets can be achieved at little cost to economic activity. Growth-enhancing infrastructure investments and crucial social services such as health and education should be maintained. Well-designed fiscal policy can address inequality and stimulate growth.
Vivek Ghosal and Yang Ye
We examine the impact of uncertainty on employment dynamics. Alternative measures of uncertainty are constructed based on the survey of professional forecasters, and regressionbased forecasting models for GDP growth, inflation, S&P500 stock price index, and fuel prices. Our results indicate that greater uncertainty has a negative impact on growth of employment, and the effects are primarily felt by the relatively smaller businesses; the impact on large businesses are generally non-existent or weaker. Our results suggest that to truly understand the effects of uncertainty on employment dynamics, we need to focus on the relatively smaller and entrepreneurial businesses. We discuss implications for the framing of economic policy.
Ruud A. de Mooij, Mr. Michael Keen, and Ian W.H. Parry

Abstract

Efforts to control atmospheric accumulations of greenhouse gases that threaten to heat up the planet are in their infancy. Although the IMF is not an environmental organization, environmental issues matter for its mission when they have major implications for macroeconomic performance and fiscal policy. Climate change clearly passes both these tests.

Mr. Ashvin Ahuja
During the past decade, the average Chinese earns roughly 9 times less and is 10 times less productive than the average American at purchasing power parity. Current consensus attributes large differences in output per worker to differences in total factor productivity (TFP). Evidence suggests that most of the US-China TFP differences lie in the inefficiency of China's domestic-oriented service and agricultural sectors. This paper focuses on (1) the evidence of monopoly rights and its influence on work practice improvement at China's firms and plants and (2) the evidence that policy arrangement there has encouraged more competition in merchandise manufacturing and heavy industries while barriers to market access remain high against new firms in the domestic market (especially in services). A numerical experiment is provided, which suggests that China can enhance long-term income per capita by a factor of 10 largely through TFP gains by implementing reform to weaken protection of monopolies and encourage entry in all industries.