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Mr. Alexander Culiuc
The consequences of large depreciations on economic activity depend on the relative strength of the contractionary balance sheet and expansionary expenditure switching effects. However, the two operate over different time horizons: the balance sheet effect hits almost immediately, while expenditure switching is delayed by nominal rigidities and other frictions. The paper hypothesizes that the overshooting phase—observed early in the depreciation episode and driven by the balance sheet effect—is largely irrelevant for expenditure switching, which is more closely aligned with ex-post equilibrium depreciation. Given this, larger real exchange rate overshooting should signal a relatively stronger balance sheet effect. Empirical findings support this hypothesis: (i) overshooting is driven by factors associated with the balance sheet effect (high external debt, low reserves, low trade openness), (ii) overshooting-based measures of the balance sheet effect foreshadow post-depreciation output losses, and (iii) the balance sheet effect is strongest early on, while expenditure switching strengthens over the medium term.
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

In 2008, the IEO undertook an evaluation on the IMF governance and concluded that effectiveness had been the strongest aspect of IMF governance, while accountability and voice had been the weakest. Since then, IMF governance has been strengthened aided by quota and voice reforms to address misalignments in shares and chairs as well as numerous improvements in governance procedures and practices. The update finds that IMF governance has proven its effectiveness in supporting the Fund to fulfill its mandates, but concerns remain on voice and accountability. Challenges remain related to representation and voice, interaction between governance bodies, the selection process for management, and the role of the G20 in IMF governance. Addressing these challenges will take time and may be subject to difficult tradeoffs between governance objectives such as preserving effectiveness while ensuring appropriate representation.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

This paper discusses that the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) has also launched three new evaluations—which will analyze the IMF’s role on fragile states, its financial surveillance activities, and its advice on unconventional monetary policies—and two evaluation updates—which will look into the IMF’s exchange rate policy advice and structural conditionality. The evaluation found that, for the most part, the IMF’s euro area surveillance identified the right issues during the pre-crisis period but did not foresee the magnitude of the risks that would later become paramount. The IMF’s surveillance of the financial regulatory architecture was generally of high quality, but staff, along with most other experts, missed the buildup of banking system risks in some countries. The report found several issues with the way decision making was managed by the IMF. In May 2010, the IMF Executive Board approved a decision to provide exceptional access financing to Greece without seeking preemptive debt restructuring, even though its sovereign debt was not deemed sustainable with a high probability.

Ms. Elif C Arbatli Saxegaard, Steven J Davis, Arata Ito, Naoko Miake, and Ikuo Saito
We develop new economic policy uncertainty (EPU) indices for Japan from January 1987 onwards building on the approach of Baker, Bloom and Davis (2016). Each index reflects the frequency of newspaper articles that contain certain terms pertaining to the economy, policy matters and uncertainty. Our overall EPU index co-varies positively with implied volatilities for Japanese equities, exchange rates and interest rates and with a survey-based measure of political uncertainty. The EPU index rises around contested national elections and major leadership transitions in Japan, during the Asian Financial Crisis and in reaction to the Lehman Brothers failure, U.S. debt downgrade in 2011, Brexit referendum, and Japan’s recent decision to defer a consumption tax hike. Our uncertainty indices for fiscal, monetary, trade and exchange rate policy co-vary positively but also display distinct dynamics. VAR models imply that upward EPU innovations foreshadow deteriorations in Japan’s macroeconomic performance, as reflected by impulse response functions for investment, employment and output. Our study adds to evidence that credible policy plans and strong policy frameworks can favorably influence macroeconomic performance by, in part, reducing policy uncertainty.
Mr. Manuk Ghazanchyan, Ms. Janet Gale Stotsky, and Qianqian Zhang
This study examines the drivers of growth in Asian countries, with focus on the role of investment, the exchange rate regime, financial risk, and capital account openness. We use a panel data set of a sample of Asian countries over the period 1980 to 2012. Our results indicate that private and public investments are strong drivers of growth, while more limited evidence is found that reduced financial risk and higher foreign direct investment support growth. The exchange rate regime does not appear to be a strongly significant determinant of growth, but some specifications suggest that more flexible regimes are beneficial in this respect. Financial crises have a stronger dampening effect on growth in countries with more open capital accounts.
Mr. John C Bluedorn, Rupa Duttagupta, Mr. Jaime Guajardo, and Miss Nkunde Mwase
Growth takeoffs in developing economies have rebounded in the past two decades. Although recent takeoffs have lasted longer than takeoffs before the 1990s, a key question is whether they could unravel like some did in the past. This paper finds that recent takeoffs are associated with stronger economic conditions, such as lower post-takeoff debt and inflation levels; more competitive real exchange rates; and better structural reforms and institutions. The chances of starting a takeoff in the 2000s was triple that before the 1990s, with domestic conditions accounting for most of the increase. The findings suggest that if today’s dynamic developing economies sustain their improved policies; they are more likely to stay on course compared to many of their predecessors.