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Ms. Marianne Bechara, Wouter Bossu, Ms. Yan Liu, and Arthur Rossi
Fintech presents unique opportunities for central banks. The rapid changes in technology that are transforming the financial system will allow central banks to enhance the execution of various of their core functions, such as currency issuance and payment systems. But some aspects of fintech pose major challenges. Central banks have always been at the cutting edge of financial technology and innovation. In the past, the invention of the banknote, the processing of payments through debits and credits in book-entry accounts, and the successive transitions of interbank payment systems from the telegraph to internet protocols were all transformative innovations. Today, central banks are facing new and unprecedented challenges: distributed ledger technology, new data analytics (artificial intelligence [AI] and machine learning), and cloud computing, along with a wider spread of mobile access and increased internet speed and bandwidth. The purpose of this note is to discuss the authors’ preliminary views on how, from a legal perspective, central banks can best deal with the impact of fintech on their governance. These preliminary views are based on a review of central banks’ reaction thus far to the challenges posed by fintech to the legal foundations of their governance.
Mr. Dmitry Gershenson, Frederic Lambert, Luis Herrera, Grey Ramos, Mrs. Marina V Rousset, and Jose Torres
Despite some improvement since 2011, Latin America and the Caribbean continue to lag behind other regions in terms of financial inclusion. There is no clear evidence that fintech developments have supported greater financial inclusion in LAC, contrary to what has been observed elsewhere in the world. Case studies by national policy experts suggest that barriers to entry in the financial sector, along with a constraining regulatory environment, may have hindered a faster adoption of fintech. However, fintech development seems to have accelerated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and with the support of recent policy initiatives.
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.
Toni Ahnert, Sebastian Doerr, Mr. Nicola Pierri, and Mr. Yannick Timmer
This paper analyzes the importance of information technology (IT) in banking for entrepreneurship. To guide our empirical analysis, we build a parsimonious model of bank screening and lending that predicts that IT in banking can spur entrepreneurship by making it easier for startups to borrow against collateral. We provide empirical evidence that job creation by young firms is stronger in US counties that are more exposed to ITintensive banks. Consistent with a strengthened collateral lending channel for IT banks, entrepreneurship increases more in IT-exposed counties when house prices rise. In line with the model's implications, IT in banking increases startup activity without diminishing startup quality and it also weakens the importance of geographical distance between borrowers and lenders. These results suggest that banks' IT adoption can increase dynamism and productivity.
Mr. Andrew Berg, Lahcen Bounader, Nikolay Gueorguiev, Hiroaki Miyamoto, Mr. Kenji Moriyama, Ryota Nakatani, and Luis-Felipe Zanna
Many studies predict massive job losses and real wage decline as a result of the ongoing widespread automation of production, a trend that may be further aggravated by the COVID-19 crisis. Yet automation is also expected to raise productivity and output. How can we share the gains from automation more widely, for the benefit of all? And what are the attendant equity-efficiency trade-offs? We analyze this issue by considering the effects of fiscal policies that seek to redistribute the gains from automation and address income inequality. We use a dynamic general equilibrium model with monopolistic competition, including a novel specification linking corporate power to automation. While fiscal policy cannot eliminate the classic equity-efficiency trade-offs, it can help improve them, reducing inequality at small or no loss of output. This is particularly so when policy takes advantage of novel, less distortive transmission channels of fiscal policy created by the empirically observed link between corporate market power and automation.
Ms. Kazuko Shirono, Esha Chhabra, Ms. Bidisha Das, Ms. Yingjie Fan, and Mr. Hector Carcel Villanova
The rapid uptake of mobile money in recent years has generated new data needs and growing interest in understanding its impact on broad money. This paper reviews mobile money trends using mobile money data from the Financial Access Survey (FAS) and examines the statistical treatment of mobile money under the IMF’s Monetary and Financial Statistics (MFS) framework. MFS guidance is straightforward in most cases, as many jurisdictions have adopted regulations which ensure that mobile money is captured in the banking system and thus in the calculation of broad money. However, in cases where mobile network operators (MNOs) act as niche financial intermediaries outside the banking regulatory perimeter and are allowed to invest their customer funds in sovereign securities and other permitted assets, mobile money liabilities may remain outside the banking system as well as monetary statistics. In that case, information on mobile money liabilities need to be collected directly from MNOs to account for mobile money as part of broad money.
Julia Bersch, Jean François Clevy, Naseem Muhammad, Mrs. Esther Perez Ruiz, and Mr. Yorbol Yakhshilikov
This paper analyzes the potential for fintech to facilitate cheaper and more efficient remittances, and to enhance financial inclusion in Central America. Digital remittances remain nascent in the region, primarily reflecting behavioral inertia, small cost advantages of digital over traditional channels, and inadequate financial literacy. Through expanded alliances between traditional and fintech operators, digital remittances can further reduce transaction costs and reach those remote, low-income households in a timely and secure manner. A meaningful expansion of fintech remittances necessitates an enabling regulatory environment for digital financial services, and KYC and AML/CFT requirements proportionate to the value of transfers.
Purva Khera, Miss Stephanie Y Ng, Ms. Sumiko Ogawa, and Ms. Ratna Sahay
Digital financial services have been a key driver of financial inclusion in recent years. While there is evidence that financial inclusion through traditional services has a positive impact on economic growth, do the same results carry over for digital financial inclusion? What drives digital financial inclusion? Why does it advance more in some countries but not in others? Using new indices of financial inclusion developed in Khera et. al. (2021), this paper addresses these questions for 52 developing countries. Using cross-sectional instrument variable procedure, we find that the exogenous component of digital financial inclusion is positively associated with growth in GDP per capita during 2011-2018, which suggests that digital financial inclusion can accelerate economic growth. Fractional logit and random effects empirical estimation identifies access to infrastructure, financial and digital literacy, and quality of institutions as key drivers of digital financial inclusion. These findings are then used to help inform policy recommendations in areas related to the digitization of financial services to promote financial inclusion.