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Manuel Linsenmeier, Mr. Adil Mohommad, and Gregor Schwerhoff
Carbon pricing is considered the most efficient policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but it has also been conjectured that other policies need to be implemented first to remove certain economic and political barriers to stringent climate policy. Here, we examine empirical evidence on the the sequence of policy adoption and climate policy portfolios of G20 economies and other major emitters that eventually implemented a national carbon price. We find that all countries adopted carbon pricing late in their instrument sequence after the adoption of (almost) all other instrument types. Furthermore, we find that countries that adopted carbon pricing in a given year had significantly larger climate policy portfolios than those that did not. In the last part of the paper, we examine heterogeneity among countries that eventually adopted a carbon price. We find large variation in the size of policy portfolios of adopters of carbon pricing, with more recent adopters appearing to have introduced carbon pricing with smaller portfolios. Furthermore, countries that adopted carbon pricing with larger policy portfolios tended to implement a higher carbon price. Overall, our results thus suggest that policy sequencing played an important role in climate policy, specifically the adoption of carbon pricing, over the last 20 years.
Matteo Ruzzante and Nelson Sobrinho
This paper investigates the dynamic impact of natural resource discoveries on government debt sustainability. We use a ‘natural experiment’ framework in which the timing of discoveries is treated as an exogenous source of within-country variation. We combine data on government debt, fiscal stress and debt distress episodes on a large panel of countries over 1970-2012, with a global repository of giant oil, gas, and mineral discoveries. We find strong and robust evidence of a ‘fiscal presource curse’, i.e., natural resources can jeopardize fiscal sustainability even before ‘the first drop of oil is pumped’. Specifically, we find that giant discoveries, mostly of oil and gas, lead to permanently higher government debt and, eventually, debt distress episodes, specially in countries with weaker political institutions and governance. This evidence suggest that the curse can be mitigated and even prevented by pursuing prudent fiscal policies and borrowing strategies, strengthening fiscal governance, and implementing transparent and robust fiscal frameworks for resource management.
Mr. Pragyan Deb, Davide Furceri, Mr. Jonathan David Ostry, and Nour Tawk
Lockdowns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have reduced overall energy demand but electricity generation from renewable sources has been resilient. While this partly reflects the trend increase in renewables, the empirical analysis presented in this paper highlights that recessions result in a permanent, albeit small, increase in energy efficiency and in the share of renewables in total electricity. These effects are stronger in the case of advanced economies and when complemented with environment and energy policies—both market-based measures such as taxes on pollutants, trading schemes and feed-in-tariffs, as well as non-market measures such as emission and fuel standards and R&D investment and subsidies—to incentivize and hasten the transition towards renewable sources of energy.
Mr. Johannes Wiegand
Climate financing and compensation have emerged as key themes in the international climate mitigtion debate. According to one argument in support of compensation, advanced economies (AEs) have used up much of the atmosphere’s absorptive capacity, thus causing global warming and blocking a similar, fossil-fuel driven development path for emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs). This paper develops a simple model of a sequential, fossil-fuel driven development process to discuss these issues systematically. The results suggest: (i) AEs have typically a stronger interest in climate change mitigation than EMDEs, (ii) from an equity perspective, compensation is called for only if EMDEs are relatively small; (iii) there can also be an efficiency case for compensation, however, with AEs buying EMDEs out of some of their GHG emissions; (iv) ultimately, a superior option—for both the world’s climate and growth prospects—is the development of clean energy technologies by AEs and their transfer to EMDEs. The latter requires strong mitigation efforts by AEs even if EMDEs fail to play along initially.
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.
Ms. Florence Jaumotte, Weifeng Liu, and Warwick J. McKibbin
Background paper prepared for the October 2020 IMF World Economic Outlook. This paper provides a detailed presentation of the simulation results from the October 2020 IMF World Economic Outlook chapter 3 and an additional scenario with carbon pricing only for comparison with the comprehensive policy package where green investments were also included. This paper has greatly benefitted from continuous discussions with Oya Celasun and Benjamin Carton on the design of simulations; contributions from Philip Barrett for part of the simulations; and research support from Jaden Kim. We also received helpful comments from other IMF staff. All remaining errors are ours. McKibbin and Liu acknowledge financial support from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CE170100005).
Ian Parry and Mr. Philippe Wingender
Finland has pledged to cut net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2035 and has sectoral targets for deploying electric vehicles, phasing out coal generation, and oil-based space heating. Fiscal policies at the national and sectoral level could play a critical role in achieving these objectives. Carbon dioxide emissions are already priced significantly in Finland but prices vary substantially across fuels and sectors. The paper discusses a reform to both scale up, and progressively harmonize, pricing while using revenues to address equity issues. It also discusses the potential use of revenue-neutral feebate schemes to strengthen mitigation incentives for the transportation, industry, building, forestry, and agricultural sectors.
Nathalie Pouokam
This paper discusses the main challenges faced by resource-rich nations in promoting equity; describes policy tools available for managing exhaustible natural resources; and analyzes the relationship between resource wealth and state fragility. It is argued that human capital accumulation, innovation, and technology diffusion can help escape the trap of low growth and resource dependence that plagues so many developing countries. But to make this possible, resource-rich nations must sustain strong citizen participation in the policy making to hold governments accountable and ensure the inclusive management of resource wealth.
Nicoletta Batini, Mario di Serio, Matteo Fragetta, and Mr. Giovanni Melina
This paper estimates multipliers for spending in clean energy and biodiversity conservation to help inform stimulus measures for a post-COVID-19 sustainable recovery. Using a new international dataset, part of which was especially assembled for this analysis, we find that every dollar spent on key carbon-neutral or carbon-sink activities—from zero-emission power plants to the protection of wildlife and ecosystems—can generate more than a dollar’s worth of economic activity. The estimated multipliers associated with green spending are about 2 to 7 times larger than those associated with non-eco-friendly expenditure, depending on sectors, technologies and horizons. These findings survive several robustness checks and suggest that ‘building back better’ could be a win-win for economies and the planet.