Risks to macroeconomic stability posed by excessive private leverage are significantly amplified by tax distortions. ‘Debt bias’ (tax provisions favoring finance by debt rather than equity) has increased leverage in both the household and corporate sectors, and is now widely recognized as a significant macroeconomic concern.
This paper presents new evidence of the extent of debt bias, including estimates for banks and non-bank financial institutions both before and after the global financial crisis. It presents policy options to alleviate debt bias, and assesses their effectiveness. The paper finds that thin capitalization rules restricting interest deductibility have only partially been able to address debt bias, but that an allowance for corporate equity has generally proved effective. The paper concludes that debt bias should feature prominently in countries’ tax reform plans in the coming years.
This note serves as a reference for balance sheet analysis, which should be read in conjunction with the IMF board paper on Balance Sheet Analysis in Fund Surveillance.
It provides a: compendium of good examples of balance sheet analysis from both bilateral and multilateral surveillance, covering a variety of topics; full listing of available balance sheet related macro datasets, including their relevance for surveillance, remaining limitations, and remedial measures being undertaken; summary of data availability for each Fund member; compilation of all the tools for balance sheet analysis developed by the Fund over the last decade; and toolkit featuring some new empirical applications that could help deepen balance sheet analysis in surveillance. These include illustrations of how to construct and use BSA matrices, general equilibrium and reduced form approaches, as well as tools to analyze sectoral vulnerabilities using micro data.
This paper provides background material to support the Board paper on the interaction of monetary and macroprudential policies. It analyzes the scope for and evidence on interactions between monetary and macroprudential policies. It first reviews a recent conceptual literature on interactive effects that arise when both macroprudential and monetary policy are employed. It goes on to explore the “side effects” of monetary policy on financial stability and their implications for macroprudential policy. It finally addresses the strength of possible effects of macroprudential policies on output and price stability, and draws out implications for the conduct of monetary policy.
The Early Warning Exercise (EWE) draws together a combination of analytical techniques, practical experience, seasoned judgment and unique databases in order to assess the potential consequences associated with economic and financial tail risks. There are several key features of the exercise. First, the exercise aims to help prevent the occurrence of financial crises and to limit their potential damage, not to predict the timing of crises. Second, coverage is fairly comprehensive, including both advanced and emerging economies. Third, the EWE is based on rigorous analysis and cutting-edge techniques, but it uses a holistic approach, drawing also various other tools rather than relying on a single crisis model. Fourth, it combines empirical analysis with forward-looking thinking, based on inputs from key policymakers and academics, in-depth real-world knowledge from practitioners, and seasoned judgment from IMF experts. The primary purpose of the EWE is to identify as early as possible the buildup of underlying vulnerabilities that predispose a system to a crisis, so that corrective policies can be implemented and contingency plans put in place.
Tax distortions are likely to have encouraged excessive leveraging and other financial market problems evident in the crisis. These effects have been little explored, but are potentially macro-relevant. Taxation can result, for example, in a net subsidy to borrowing of hundreds of basis points, raising debt-equity ratios and vulnerabilities from capital inflows.
This paper reviews key channels by which tax distortions can significantly affect financial markets, drawing implications for tax design once the crisis has passed.