Noteworthy among the six papers appearing in this latest issue of the IMF's peer-reviewed journal is another installment in the Special Data Section. Anthony Pellechio and John Cady from the IMF's Statistics Department take a close look at differences in IMF data; how and when they could occur; and what the implications of such differences might be for end-users of the IMF's data.
This first issue for 2006 is anchored by two papers on Russia. The opening paper discusses Russia and the World Trade Organization, and the concluding paper, by John Odling-Smee (former Director of the IMF's European II Department), presents a comprehensive and authoritative history of the IMF's relations with Russia during the 1990s. Other articles in this issue cover rent-seeking behavior, estimations of government net capital stocks, and three papers cover different aspects of exchange rates.
The paper discusses a model in which growth is a negative function of fiscal burden. Moreover, growth discontinuously switches from high to low as the fiscal burden reaches a critical level. The paper provides an overview of key elements of corporate bankruptcy codes and practice around the world that are relevant to the debate on sovereign debt restructuring. It also describes the broad trends in international financial integration for a sample of industrial countries and explains the cross-country and time-series variation in the size of international balance sheets.
This paper examines sources of economic growth in East Asia. The conventional growth-accounting approach to estimating the sources of economic growth requires unrealistically strong assumptions about either competitiveness of factor markets or the form of the underlying aggregate production function. The paper outlines a new approach utilizing nonparametric derivative estimation techniques that does not require imposing these restrictive assumptions. The results for East Asian countries show that output elasticities of capital and labor tend to be different from the income shares of these factors. The paper also explores the compensating potential of private intergenerational transfers.
This paper provides an overview of the recent theoretical and empirical research on herd behavior in financial markets. It looks at what precisely is meant by herding, the causes of herd behavior, the success of existing studies in identifying the phenomenon, and the effect that herding has on financial markets. The paper also surveys a selected number of studies that evaluated the demand for money using the error-correction model approach in the 1990s across a range of industrial and developing countries.
This paper presents international evidence on the determinants of trade dynamics. It provides some new empirical perspectives on the relationship between international trade and macroeconomic fluctuations in industrial economies. A comprehensive set of stylized facts concerning fluctuations in trade variables and their determinants is presented. A measure of the quantitative importance of international trade for the propagation of domestic business cycles is then constructed, focusing on the role of external trade as a catalyst for cyclical recoveries.
This paper examines market liberalization policies in a reforming socialist economy. The aim of this paper is to develop a model of such a reforming socialist economy and to explore the consequences of market-oriented policies in the context of such an economy. A model of a socialist economy is presented, incorporating bargaining over wages and employment in the socialized sector and shortages that are reflected in the black market. The model is used to analyze the implications of liberalization policies, including trade liberalization, an administered price increase, and provisions allowing for increased direct foreign investment. The nonsocialized sector is perfectly competitive and produces an output that is different from that of the socialized sector. It has a neoclassical production function using a sector-specific input (say, capital) and labor. The results suggest that reforms may have different effects under different trade regimes and that small price reforms may have perverse effects.
This paper answers key questions in considering a value-added tax (VAT) for Central and Eastern European countries. The paper emphasizes that in Western countries tax policy derives from the assumption that the market achieves an optimal allocation of resources. Efficiency in resource allocation and, by extension, the neutrality advantages of the VAT cannot be attained if prices continue to be controlled by the government and enterprises continue to be subject to undue regulation and direction from the center. If a VAT is not to resemble the kind of bookkeeping exercise of the old turnover taxes, then its introduction should be preceded by a substantial degree of price liberalization and enterprise autonomy. Finally, a VAT is a “democratic tax,” in the sense that, in the main, taxpayers must comply voluntarily with the obligations imposed on them. Also, they have the right to disagree with the tax liability as ascertained by the tax office. This requires carefully crafted procedures and sustained efforts to elicit taxpayer cooperation.
This paper provides an analysis of attempts at international coordination of national policies leads to the conclusion that true international action that has a good chance to succeed for specific measures, such as changes in exchange rates, customs tariffs, and perhaps discount rates. There is, on the other hand, little reason to assume that the desire prevalent in all countries for full employment, stable prices, and growth could be supported to any important degree by the acceptance of international obligations. The targets of economic policy as they have been put forward for our discussion appear simple and noncontroversial: reasonable price stability, full employment and an adequate rate of growth, and balance of payments equilibrium. If in any country the relationship between wages and employment is such that at full employment wages increase more rapidly than is compatible with price stability, then obviously the price and employment objectives of that country are not compatible.
This paper explores wage-price link in a prolonged inflation. A fixed tie between wages and prices must have significant effects in any economy. A wage-price link of the type discussed in this paper assumes that wages will be adjusted for any rise in consumer prices, subject to certain safeguards. This will protect wage earners against any significant fall in real wages arising from investment inflation. For a free economy, in which economic adjustments are induced by changes in prices and wages, the imposition of the degree of rigidity implied by this association is of far-reaching importance. in several countries, the use of wage-price links is a consequence of the fear of labor that real wages will be adversely affected by inflation. Although the basic causes of inflation vary widely in different countries and at different times, the process of inflation always shows similar characteristics. In an economy which is functioning properly, the distribution and use of the gross national product should result in an aggregate demand for goods and services that tend to equal the available supply of goods and services at approximately stable prices.