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International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

This report seeks to help the IMF enhance its effectiveness by identifying major recurring issues from the IEO’s first 20 evaluations and assessing where they stand. The IMF’s core areas of responsibility are surveillance, lending, and capacity development. The aim of this report is to strengthen the follow-up process by focusing on key issues that recurred in IEO evaluations, rather than on specific recommendations on their implementation. The IEO believes that a framework of reviewing and monitoring recurring issues would be useful in establishing incentives for progress, strengthening the Board’s oversight, and providing learning opportunities for the IMF.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Abstract

Following a strong showing in early 2011, the economies across Europe now face the prospect of a pronounced slowdown, as global growth has softened, risk aversion has risen, and strains in Europe's sovereign debt and financial markets have deepened, according to this issue of the Regional Economic Outlook for Europe. Downside risks are significant, and a further deepening of the euro area crisis would affect not only advanced Europe, but also emerging Europe, given its tight economic and financial ties. The policy stance in advanced Europe will need to be adapted to reflect the weakening and tense outlook, financial systems strengthened further, and a consistent, cohesive and cooperative approach to monetary union adopted by all euro area stakeholders. The cross-country experience in the past decade in Europe shows the difference that good policies can make in boosting growth, with some European countries having grown rapidly while others have stagnated. Escaping low-growth traps, through broad-based reforms that address macroeconomic imbalances and country-specific structural rigidities, is possible.

International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper reviews indicators for external competitiveness in Hungary. The paper examines recent developments in a range of indicators. These include regional comparisons of wage and unit labor cost developments, and standard indicators based on price and cost-based measures of the real effective exchange rate (REER). In addition, the paper discusses actual export performance and market shares, profitability indicators, and business survey results. The equilibrium exchange rate is estimated. The paper also analyzes financial sector regulatory governance in Hungary.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper of Portugal highlights the discussions on the requirement of policies to overcome structural and cyclical impediments to growth, and secure fiscal consolidation. It analyzes the strength of the company balance sheets in supporting the rebound from recession, and also the links between corporate balance sheet strength and investment. It reviews the challenges in the Portuguese economy, the impact of European Union enlargement on Portuguese trade, the pension prospects, and the implications of various policy reform scenarios.
Mika Saito
This paper compares two alternative measures of technology differences across industrial countries during 1970-92: one measures differences in labor productivity (the Ricardian measure), and the other differences in total factor productivity (the Hicksian measure). The distinction between the two measures is important to the extent that trade patterns are inconsistent with comparative advantage revealed by the Hicksian measure, but not necessarily with that by the Ricardian measure. The distinction becomes more important in the period with high capital mobility across countries.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
The IMF Research Bulletin, a quarterly publication, selectively summarizes research and analytical work done by various departments at the IMF, and also provides a listing of research documents and other research-related activities, including conferences and seminars. The Bulletin is intended to serve as a summary guide to research done at the IMF on various topics, and to provide a better perspective on the analytical underpinnings of the IMF’s operational work.
Mr. Desmond Lachman, Mr. Ramana Ramaswamy, Mr. J. H. Green, Mr. Robert P. Hagemann, and Mr. Adam Bennett

Abstract

Sweden's economy in the early 1990s has been characterized by a deep recession, high unemployment, a ballooning public sector budgete deficit, and a decline in the value of the currency- developments that have raised questions about the country's capacity to sustain its comprehensive welfare state. This study provides an analysis of recent economic developments in a longer-term context and assesses their implications for future policies.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
The paper presents a model of optimum currency areas using a general equilibrium approach with regionally differentiated goods. The choice of a currency union depends upon the size of the underlying disturbances, the correlation between these disturbances, the costs of transactions across currencies, factor mobility across regions, and the interrelationships between demand for different goods. It is found that, while a currency union can raise the welfare of the regions within the union, it unambiguously lowers welfare for those outside the union. [JEL F33, F36]
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper reviews the population policy in developed countries. The paper highlights that despite the weakness of population concerns in most developed countries compared with less-developed countries, most of the former have taken certain actions that affect, or are thought to affect, demographic events. These actions include such measures as appointing official commissions to study the country’s demographic situation and advise the government what to do; providing birth control services as part of the public health system; and so on. This paper also summarizes the conclusions drawn by Dr. Berelson from the 25 country reports.