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Ruchir Agarwal, Ina Ganguli, Patrick Gaulé, and Geoff Smith
This paper studies the impact of U.S. immigration barriers on global knowledge production. We present four key findings. First, among Nobel Prize winners and Fields Medalists, migrants to the U.S. play a central role in the global knowledge network—representing 20-33% of the frontier knowledge producers. Second, using novel survey data and hand-curated life-histories of International Math Olympiad (IMO) medalists, we show that migrants to the U.S. are up to six times more productive than migrants to other countries—even after accounting for talent during one’s teenage years. Third, financing costs are a key factor preventing foreign talent from migrating abroad to pursue their dream careers, particularly for talent from developing countries. Fourth, certain ‘push’ incentives that reduce immigration barriers—by addressing financing constraints for top foreign talent—could increase the global scientific output of future cohorts by 42 percent. We concludeby discussing policy options for the U.S. and the global scientific community.
Iulia Ruxandra Teodoru and Asel Toktonalieva
This paper estimates the neutral interest rate in the Kyrgyz Republic using a range of methodologies. Results indicate that the real neutral rate is about 4 percent based on an average of models and 3.7 percent based on a Quarterly Projection Model. This is higher than in many emerging markets and is likely explained by higher public debt and an elevated risk premium, low creditor rights and contractual enforcement, and low domestic savings. The use of an estimate of the neutral interest rate provides useful guidance to monetary policy and enhances transparency and independence of the central bank. Our estimate provides a quantitative benchmark for the monetary policy stance in the context of a central bank that is building analytical capacity, integrating additional insights in its decision-making process, and working to improve its communication. Strengthening the monetary transmission mechanism will be critical to enhance the effectiveness of monetary policy, including by allowing more exchange rate flexibility to support the transition to a full-fledged inflation targeting regime, and reducing excess liquidity to enhance the credit channel, reducing dollarization and high interest rate spreads that adversely affect the transmission of the policy rate to the economy.
Mr. Benedicte Baduel, Carolin Geginat, and Ms. Gaelle Pierre
This paper examines the extent to which firms in selected MENA countries reported being constrained by the business environment around the time of the Arab Spring and the extent to which these constraints affected their employment performance. The results suggest that small firms in MENA faced more structural constraints than similar firms in other regions. We also find that MENA firms’ weaker job creation can be explained in great part by the macroeconomic environment and structural constraints. Low GDP growth, falling external competitiveness, corruption, lack of access to finance and poor access to electricity are found to explain a significant part of the lack of employment growth in MENA firms compared to their peers.