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Michal Brzoza-Brzezina, Marcin Kolasa, and Krzysztof Makarski
We study the macroeconomic effects of the COVID-19 epidemic in a quantitative dynamic general equilibrium setup with nominal rigidities. We evaluate various containment policies and show that they allow to dramatically reduce the welfare cost of the disease. Then we investigate the role that monetary policy, in its capacity to manage aggregate demand, should play during the epidemic. According to our results, treating the observed output contraction as a standard recession leads to overly expansionary policy. Finally, we check how central banks should resolve the trade-off between stabilizing the economy and containing the epidemic. If no administrative restrictions are in place, the second motive prevails and, despite the deep recession, optimal monetary policy is in fact contractionary. Conversely, if sufficient containment measures are introduced, central bank interventions should be expansionary and help stabilize economic activity.
Ariadne Checo, Mr. Francesco Grigoli, and José M. Mota
The large economic costs of full-blown lockdowns in response to COVID-19 outbreaks, coupled with heterogeneous mortality rates across age groups, led to question non-discriminatory containment measures. In this paper we provide an assessment of the targeted approach to containment. We propose a SIR-macro model that allows for heterogeneous agents in terms of mortality rates and contact rates, and in which the government optimally bans people from working. We find that under a targeted policy, the optimal containment reaches a larger portion of the population than under a blanket policy and is held in place for longer. Compared to a blanket policy, a targeted approach results in a smaller death count. Yet, it is not a panacea: the recession is larger under such approach as the containment policy applies to a larger fraction of people, remains in place for longer, and herd immunity is achieved later. Moreover, we find that increased interactions between low- and high-risk individuals effectively reduce the benefits of a targeted approach to containment.
Nicoletta Batini, Ian Parry, and Mr. Philippe Wingender
Denmark has a highly ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 70 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. While there is general agreement that carbon pricing should be the centerpiece of Denmark’s mitigation strategy, pricing needs to be effective, address equity and leakage concerns, and be reinforced by additional measures at the sectoral level. The strategy Denmark develops can be a good prototype for others to follow. This paper discusses mechanisms to scale up domestic carbon pricing, compensate households, and possibly combine pricing with a border carbon adjustment. It also recommends the use of revenue-neutral feebate schemes to strengthen mitigation incentives, particularly for transportation and agriculture, fisheries and forestry, though these schemes could also be applied more widely.
Ms. Pritha Mitra, Eric M. Pondi Endengle, Ms. Malika Pant, and Luiz F. Almeida
Global attention to ending child marriage and its socio-economic consequences is gaining momentum. Ending child marriage is not only critical from a development perspective but it also has important economic implications. This paper is the first to quantify the relationship between child marriage and economic growth. Applying a simultaneous equations model, the analysis shows that eliminating child marriage would significantly improve economic growth—if child marriage were ended today, long-term annual per capita real GDP growth in emerging and developing countries would increase by 1.05 percentage points. The results also provide insights on policy prioritization in developing comprehensive strategies to end child marriage. For example, the strong interdependent relationship between education and child marriage suggests that education policies and the budgets that support them should place greater emphasis on reducing child marriage.
Nicoletta Batini
France is the top agricultural producer in the European Union (EU), and agriculture plays a prominent role in the country’s foreign trade and intermediate exchanges. Reflecting production volumes and methods, the sector, however, also generates significant negative environmental and public health externalities. Recent model simulations show that a well-designed shift in production and consumption to make the former sustainable and align the latter with recommended values can curb these considerably and generate large macroeconomic gains. I propose a policy toolkit in line with the government’s existing sectoral policies that can support this transition.
Andinet Woldemichael, Daniel Gurara, and Abebe Shimeles
Achieving universal health coverage, including financial risk protection and access to quality essential health-care services, is one of the main Sustainable Development Goals. In low-income countries, innovative and affordable health financing systems are key to realize these goals. This paper assesses the impacts of Community-Based Health Insurance Scheme in Rwanda on health-related financial risks using a nationally representative household survey data collected over a ten-year period. We find that the scheme significantly reduce annual per capita out-of-pocket spending by about 3,600 Rwandan Franc (about US$12) or about 83 percent of average per capita healthcare expenditure compared to the baseline level in 2000.The impacts however favor the rich as compared to the poor. The program also reduces the incidence of catastrophic healthcare spending significantly.
Mr. Geoffrey J Bannister and Mr. Alex Mourmouras
We present estimates of welfare by country for 2007 and 2014 using the methodology of Jones and Klenow (2016) which incorporates consumption, leisure, mortality and inequality, and we extend the methodology to include environmental externalities. During the period of the global financial crisis welfare grew slightly more rapidly than income per capita, mainly due to improvements in life expectancy. This led to welfare convergence in most regions towards advanced country levels. Introducing environmental effects changes the welfare ranking for countries that rely heavily on natural resources, highlighting the importance of the natural resource base in welfare. This methodology could provide a theoretically consistent and tractable way of monitoring progress in several Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators.
Mr. Kenichi Ueda
There is world-wide convergence in life expectancy, despite little convergence in GDP per capita. If one values longer life much more than material happiness, the world living standards may this have already converged substantially. This paper introduces the concept of the dynastic general equilibrium value of life to measure welfare gains from the increase in life expectancy. A calibration study finds sizable welfare gains, but these gains hardly mitigate the large inequality among countries. A conventional GDP-based measure remains a good approximation for (non) convergence in world living standards, even when adjusted for changes in life expectancy.
Mr. David E. Sahn and Mr. Stephen D. Younger
This paper examines the progressivity of social sector expenditures and taxes in eight sub-Saharan African countries. It uses dominance tests to determine whether health and education expenditures redistribute resources to the poor. The paper finds that social services are poorly targeted. Among the services examined, primary education tends to be most progressive, and university education is least progressive. The paper finds that many taxes are progressive as well as efficient, including some broad-based taxes such as the VAT and wage taxation. Taxes on kerosene and exports appear to be the only examples of regressive taxes.
Ludger Schuknecht and Mr. Vito Tanzi
This paper describes the growth of public spending in industrial countries over the past century. It identifies several periods: the periods between 1870 and 1913; the period between the two World Wars; the post World War II period up to 1960; and the period after 1960. Public spending started growing during World War I but its growth accelerated after 1960. The paper outlines the reasons for this growth and speculates that recent government growth has not brought about much economic or social progress. The paper sees the future of government mainly in setting the “rules of the game,” and provides a rough blueprint for reform. It also discusses experiences with government reform in selected count les, and predicts that over the next decades, public spending as a share of GDP will fall.