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Mr. Nathaniel G Arnold, Ms. Bergljot B Barkbu, H. Elif Ture, Hou Wang, and Jiaxiong Yao
This note outlines a concrete proposal for a euro area central fiscal capacity (CFC) that could help smooth both country-specific and common shocks. Specifically, it proposes a macroeconomic stabilization fund financed by annual contributions from countries that are used to build up assets in good times and make transfers to countries in bad times, as well as a borrowing capacity in case an exceptionally large shock exhausts the fund’s assets. To address moral hazard risks, transfers from the CFC—beyond a country’s own net contributions—would be conditional on compliance with the EU fiscal rules. The note also discusses several features aimed at avoiding permanent transfers between countries and making the CFC function as automatically as possible—to limit the scope for disputes over its operation—both of which are important points to make it politically acceptable.
Sophia Chen, Mrs. Paola Ganum, and Mr. Pau Rabanal
e develop a toolkit to assess the consistency between real sector and financial sector forecasts. The toolkit draws upon empirical regularities on real sector and financial sector outcomes for 182 economies from 1980 to 2015. We show that credit growth is positively correlated with real sector performance, in particular when credit growth is unusually high or low. However, the relationship between credit growth and inflation is weak. These results hold for different country groups, including advanced economies, emerging markets and low-income countries. Combining credit growth with other variables such as house prices and the output gap helps to understand real sector outcomes. But including the financial account balance does not make a difference.
Nicoletta Batini, Luc Eyraud, Lorenzo Forni, and Anke Weber
Fiscal multipliers are important tools for macroeconomic projections and policy design. In many countries, little is known about the size of multipliers, as data availability limits the scope for empirical research. This note provides general guidance on the definition, measurement, and use of fiscal multipliers. It reviews the literature related to their size, persistence and determinants. For countries where no reliable estimate is available, the note proposes a simple method to come up with reasonable values. Finally, the note presents options to incorporate multipliers in macroeconomic forecasts.
Mr. Thierry Tressel, Mr. Shengzu Wang, Mr. Joong S Kang, Mr. Jay C Shambaugh, Mr. Jörg Decressin, and Ms. Petya Koeva Brooks
Imbalances within the euro area have been a defining feature of the crisis. This paper provides a critical analysis of the ongoing rebalancing of euro area “deficit economies” (Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain) that accumulated large current account deficits and external liability positions in the run-up to the crisis. It shows that relative price adjustments have been proceeding gradually. Real effective exchange rates have depreciated by 10-25 percent, driven largely by reductions in unit labor costs due to labor shedding. While exports have typically rebounded, subdued demand accounts for much of the reduction in current account deficits. Hence, the current account balance of the euro area as a whole has shifted into surplus. Internal rebalancing has come with subdued activity—notably very high unemployment in the deficit economies—and made continued adjustment more difficult. To advance rebalancing further, the paper emphasizes the need for: (1) macroeconomic policies that support demand and bring inflation in line with the ECB’s medium-term price stability objective; (2) continued EMU reforms (banking union) to ensure proper financial intermediation; and (3) structural reforms in product and labor markets to improve productivity and support the reallocation of resources to tradable sectors.
Mr. Jonathan David Ostry and Mr. Atish R. Ghosh
In bilateral and multilateral surveillance, countries are often urged to consider alternative policies that would result in superior outcomes for the country itself and, perhaps serendipitously, for the world economy. While it is possible that policy makers in the country do not fully recognize the benefits of proposed alternative policies, it is also possible that the existing policies are the best that they can deliver, given their various constraints, including political. In order for the policy makers to be able and willing to implement the better policies some quid pro quo may be required—such as a favorable policy adjustment in the recipients of the spillovers; identifying such mutually beneficial trades is the essence of international policy coordination. We see four general guideposts in terms of the search for globally desirable solutions. First, all parties need to identify the nature of spillovers from their policies and be open to making adjustments to enhance net positive spillovers in exchange for commensurate benefits from others; but second, with countries transparent about the spillovers as they see them, an honest broker is likely to be needed to scrutinize the different positions, given the inherent biases at the country level. Third, given the need for policy agendas to be multilaterally consistent, special scrutiny is needed when policies exacerbate global imbalances and currency misalignments; and fourth, by the same token, special scrutiny is also needed when one country’s policies has a perceptible adverse impact on financial-stability risks elsewhere.
Fabian Bornhorst, Ms. Annalisa Fedelino, Jan Gottschalk, and Miss Gabriela Dobrescu
Technical Notes and Manuals are produced by IMF departments to expand the dissemination of their technical assistance advice. These papers present general advice and guidance, drawn in part from unpublished technical assistance reports, to a broader audience. This new series was launched in August 2009.
Ms. Annalisa Fedelino, Mr. Mark A Horton, and Anna Ivanova
This technical note focuses on computing cyclically adjusted balances and automatic stabilizers. The note provides guidance on how to decompose overall fiscal balances into cyclical and cyclically adjusted components, and how to interpret automatic fiscal stabilizers. These indicators are commonly used to assess how fiscal policy responds to macroeconomic conditions. Various approaches to cyclical adjustment and estimation of the automatic stabilizers are possible. This note focuses on the approach used by the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department in the paper on the State of Public Finances and in the Fiscal Monitor.