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Mr. Christian H Ebeke and Kodjovi M. Eklou
This paper investigates the microeconomic origins of aggregate economic fluctuations in Europe. It examines the relevance of idiosyncratic shocks at the top 100 large firms (the granular shocks) in explaining aggregate macroeconomic fluctuations. The paper also assesses the strength of spillovers from large firms onto SMEs. Using firm-level data covering over 14 million firms and eight european countries (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain), we find that: (i) 40 percent of the variance in GDP in the sample can be explained by idiosyncratic shocks at large firms; (ii) positive granular shocks at large firms spill over to domestic SMEs’ output, especially if SMEs’ balance sheets are healthy and if SMEs belong to the services and manufacturing sectors.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
The paper identifies France’s structural reforms that would yield the largest competitiveness gains based on macro-empirical evidence, and reviews signs of potential gains from a deregulation of the services sector. It is expected that completing deregulation in the services sector would benefit the entire French economy, by boosting productivity and exports. Econometric results have estimated the impact of reducing the labor taxation and labor market rigidities and of increasing innovation to the average level of other advanced countries.
International Monetary Fund
The European Union’s (EU) financial stability framework is being markedly strengthened. This is taking place on the heels of a severe financial crisis owing to weaknesses in the banking system interrelated with sovereign difficulties in the euro area periphery. Important progress has been made in designing an institutional framework to secure microeconomic and macroprudential supervision at the EU level, but this new set-up faces a number of challenges. Developments regarding the financial stability may assist in the continuing evolution of the European financial stability architecture.
International Monetary Fund
The 2009 Article IV Consultation highlights that the near-term outlook for Belgium is challenging, with real GDP expected to drop by about 3 percent in 2009 and a gradual recovery projected for 2010. The unemployment rate will continue to rise in 2010, and inflation pressures are expected to remain subdued. Uncertainty to the outlook is high but risks appear broadly balanced. The crisis will have a considerable downward impact on potential growth, in addition to that of demographic factors, in 2009–11.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
This first issue of IMF Staff Papers for 2005 contains 7 papers that discuss: whether output recovered after the Asian crisis; the value of a country's trading partners to its own economic growth; whether interdependence is a factor in understanding the spread of currency crises; can remittance payments from expatriates be a reliable source of capital for economic development?; total factor productivity; designing a VAT for the energy trade in Russia and Ukraine; and lastly, a discussion of the reasons for central bank intervention in ERM-I since 1993
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper studies Luxembourg’s economic growth performance of the past two decades with a view to shedding light on the growth prospects and fiscal implications. The paper investigates whether the recent weakness in activity is largely transitory or whether it heralds a new era of lower potential output growth. The paper also explains one option for reforming the pay-as-you-go pension pillar, which is to link pension benefits to the contributions base through a “solidarity factor.”
Maria Antoinette Silgoner, Jesús Crespo-Cuaresma, and Gerhard Reitschuler
We study the smoothing impact of fiscal stabilizers (proxied by government expenditures or revenues) on business cycle volatility for a panel of EU countries in the period 1970-99. The results show that the business cycle volatility smoothing effect of fiscal stabilizers may revert at high levels. We present evidence that for government expenditure ratios exceeding an estimated value of about 38 percent, a further expansion in the size of the government could actually lead to an increase in cyclical volatility. This may call for a reconsideration of the use of fiscal stabilizers for business cycle smoothing.
Mr. Jaewoo Lee and Man-Keung Tang
We revisit the time-honored link between productivity and the real exchange rate. Consistent with the traditional view, we find that higher labor productivity tends to lead to appreciation of the real exchange rate. Contrary to the traditional view, however, we find that the positive productivity effect is transmitted through the real exchange rate based on tradable prices, rather than through relative prices between tradables and nontradables. Moreover, higher total factor productivity is found, if anything, to lead to depreciation of the real exchange rate. These last two pieces of evidence provide support for the emerging view that limited tradability of goods and services provides scope for the strategic pricing decision, which has material consequences for the aggregate real exchange rate.
International Monetary Fund
This paper provides a number of complementary estimates of potential output and the output gap—variables that cannot be observed directly. After a substantial increase in the tax wedge in the 1970s and the 1980s, which has been widely thought to have been partly responsible for the sharp rise in unemployment rates, the Belgian authorities instituted a policy of reduction in employers' social security contributions. The reforms will reverse the increase in average income tax rates during the 1990s.
Patrick K. Asea and Mr. Enrique G. Mendoza
We develop a two-country, balanced-growth intertemporal general equilibrium model to examine two predictions of the Balassa-Samuelson model, namely that (i) productivity differentials determine the domestic relative price of nontradables and (ii) deviations from purchasing power parity reflect differences in the relative price of nontradables. In our model, the equilibrium relative price of nontradables along the long-run balanced-growth path is determined by the ratio of the marginal products of labor in the tradable and nontradable sectors. The empirical relevance of the Balassa-Samuelson predictions is examined using the Hodrick-Prescott filter to extract long-run components from a panel database for fourteen OECD countries. The evidence indicates that labor productivity differentials do explain long-run, cross-country differences in relative prices. The predicted relative prices, however, are of little help in explaining long-run deviations from purchasing power parity.