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Mr. Sergi Lanau and Petia Topalova
This paper examines the role of removing obstacles to competition in product markets in raising growth and productivity. Using firm-level data from Italy during 2003–13 and OECD measures of product market regulation, we estimate the effect of deregulation in network sectors on value added and productivity of firms in these sectors, as well as firms using these intermediates in their production processes. We find evidence of a significant positive impact. These effects are more pronounced in Italian provinces with more efficient public administration, underscoring the complementarities of advancing public administration and product market reforms simultaneously.
Mr. Santiago Acosta Ormaechea and Atsuyoshi Morozumi
This paper studies the effects of public expenditure reallocations on long-run growth. To do this, we assemble a new dataset based on the IMF’s GFS yearbook for the period 1970-2010 and 56 countries (14 low-, 16 medium-, and 26 high-income countries). Using dynamic panel GMM estimators, we find that a reallocation involving a rise in education spending has a positive and statistically robust effect on growth, when the compensating factor remains unspecified or when this is associated with an offsetting reduction in social protection spending. We also find that public capital spending relative to current spending appears to be associated with higher growth, yet results are non-robust in this latter case.
Mr. Serhan Cevik and Mr. Mohammad Rahmati
This paper investigates the causal relationship between financial development and economic growth in Libya during the period 1970–2010. The empirical results vary with estimation methodology and model specification, but indicate the lack of long-run relationship between financial intermediation and nonhydrocarbon output growth. The OLS estimation shows that financial development has a statistically significant negative effect on real nonhydrocarbon GDP per capita growth. However, the VAR-based estimations present statistically insignificant results, albeit still attaching a negative coefficient to financial intermediation. It appears that nonhydrocarbon economic activity depends largely on government spending, which is in turn determined by the country’s hydrocarbon earnings.
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.
Mr. Nicholas Staines
The paper finds a significant shift in the economic characteristics of civil conflicts during the1990s. Conflicts have become shorter but with more severe contractions and a stronger recovery of growth. The overall length and cost of the conflict cycle has probably declined. The stance of macroeconomic policy was an important factor while the underlying "conflict process" remained unchanged. This shift seems related to changes in aid flows since the Cold War: donors became disinclined to provide support during conflict, but more inclined after conflict. These findings are buttressed by the post-conflict experience of countries that received financial assistance from the IMF and of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). These findings have implications for policy and aid priorities after conflict.
International Monetary Fund
Despite their increasing fiscal burden, the public pension systems of BRO countries are failing to provide adequate social protection. Although there is a broad consensus about the need for pension reforms, BRO countries are debating whether to embark on systemic reforms or whether to correct the distortions in their pay-as-you-go (PAYG) pension systems. The paper reviews the measures taken by BRO countries during the transition period to address their pension problems and examines the options for further reform. It makes a strong case for a gradual reform approach aimed at establishing a multi-pillar system over the long run, but initially focused on implementation of “high-quality” reforms of the PAYG system.
Mr. Vito Tanzi and Mr. Hamid R Davoodi
Corruption, particularly political or “grand” corruption, distorts the entire decision-making process connected with public investment projects. The degree of distortions is higher with weaker auditing institutions. The evidence presented shows that higher corruption is associated with (i) higher public investment; (ii) lower government revenues; (iii) lower expenditures on operations and maintenance; and (iv) lower quality of public infrastructure. The evidence also shows that corruption increases public investment while reducing its productivity. These are five channels through which corruption lowers growth. An implication is that economists should be more restrained in their praise of high public sector investment, especially in countries with high corruption.