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Mr. John C Bluedorn, Francesca G Caselli, Mr. Niels-Jakob H Hansen, Mr. Ippei Shibata, and Ms. Marina Mendes Tavares
Early evidence on the pandemic’s effects pointed to women’s employment falling disproportionately, leading observers to call a “she-cession.” This paper documents the extent and persistence of this phenomenon in a quarterly sample of 38 advanced and emerging market economies. We show that there is a large degree of heterogeneity across countries, with over half to two-thirds exhibiting larger declines in women’s than men’s employment rates. These gender differences in COVID-19’s effects are typically short-lived, lasting only a quarter or two on average. We also show that she-cessions are strongly related to COVID-19’s impacts on gender shares in employment within sectors.
Mrs. Paola Ganum and Mr. Vimal V Thakoor
Covid-19 has exacerbated economic and social vulnerabilities across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). There is a risk that growth could be lower for longer, with a setback to development. Post-pandemic reforms thus become even more important, especially with constrained scope for fiscal and monetary stimuli. Reforms could boost per capita growth by an additional 0.3-1.3 percentage points, relative to the 1.9 percent average since 2010. Such growth would reduce per capita income doubling time from 37 years to about 22 years. Low-income countries stand to gain the most from reforms. The largest gains come from governance, products markets, and factor accumulation. Importantly, these reforms can be implemented in the post-pandemic environment characterized by weaker social and distributional outcomes.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper discusses whether there is a more efficient way of taxing labor in Argentina that has a minimal cost in terms of foregone revenues. Social security contributions for dependent workers are generally high in Argentina, despite the plethora of different regimes and exceptions. A reform of labor taxation in Argentina would need to address these inefficiencies. Reducing the tax wedge would stimulate employment and formalization, especially if targeted to low-paid workers, as there is evidence that it’s their employment that mostly responds to tax incentives. Argentina’s tax and transfer system appears to be less progressive than the estimated optimal one. The simulations suggest that the proposed changes would have a positive impact on economic activity and formality, with a minor cost in terms of foregone revenues. Greater labor supply and wages in the formal sector push up revenue from labor taxation, compensating part of the direct cost of the reform.
Mr. Romain A Duval, Davide Furceri, and João Tovar Jalles
This paper explores the short-term employment effect of deregulating job protection for regular workers and how it varies with prevailing business cycle conditions. We apply a local projection method to a newly constructed “narrative” dataset of major regular job protection reforms covering 26 advanced economies over the past four decades. The analysis relies on country-sector-level data, using as an identifying assumption the fact that stringent dismissal regulations are more binding in sectors that are characterized by a higher “natural” propensity to regularly adjust their workforce. We find that the responses of sectoral employment to large job protection deregulation shocks depend crucially on the state of the economy at the time of reform——they are positive in an expansion, but become negative in a recession. These findings are consistent with theory, and are robust to a broad range of robustness checks including an Instrumental Variable approach using political economy drivers of reforms as instruments. Our results provide a case for undertaking job protection reform in good times, or for designing it in ways that enhance its short-term impact.
Mr. Dennis P Botman, Mr. Stephan Danninger, and Mr. Jerald A Schiff

Abstract

Japan’s revitalization plan, dubbed the “three arrows of Abenomics,” devises a three-pronged strategy—combining fiscal, monetary, and structural policies—to overcome that country’s apparent inability to sustain economic recovery. This book is the first comprehensive assessment of Abenomics and the reforms needed to make it a success, including aggressive monetary easing, growth-friendly fiscal consolidation, and structural and financial sector reforms.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Uruguay’s inflation and inflation expectations exceed the inflation target, and the gap has been widening in recent years. To help bring it to the mid-point of the target, Banco Central del Uruguay (BCU) needs to maintain a tightening bias in addition to strengthening its communication. This paper examined the factors behind the composition of FDI flows to Uruguay and suggested that strong institutions and macroeconomic stability have helped attract FDI to the secondary and tertiary sectors. Flexibility of the labor market, financial deepening, and the quality of infrastructure can further this improvement.