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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
The Slovak economy is enjoying consecutive years of favorable performance marked by robust real per capita GDP growth, record-low unemployment and sustained improvement in fiscal balances. However, shortages of skilled labor, and gaps in education and institutional quality pose risks to an already declining productivity growth. A decade-long double-digit mortgage lending growth has more than doubled household indebtedness relative to GDP, posing financial stability risks.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper uses the case of the Slovak Republic to investigate how European Union (EU) countries can make optimal use of EU funds to reduce regional disparities. The findings suggest that high-quality government and a more educated population lead to better absorption of EU funds. There is also evidence that absorption increases when spending is more decentralized. Regions with a sufficient level of human capital and adequate institutions are more likely to spend the allocated funds efficiently and to experience growth as a result. With appropriate administrative and governance capacities, fighting corruption should therefore be the priority to speed absorption and allow for higher-quality projects.
Mr. Ruben V Atoyan, Lone Engbo Christiansen, Allan Dizioli, Mr. Christian H Ebeke, Mr. Nadeem Ilahi, Ms. Anna Ilyina, Mr. Gil Mehrez, Mr. Haonan Qu, Ms. Faezeh Raei, Ms. Alaina P Rhee, and Ms. Daria V Zakharova
This paper analyses the impact of large and persistent emigration from Eastern European countries over the past 25 years on these countries’ growth and income convergence to advanced Europe. While emigration has likely benefited migrants themselves, the receiving countries and the EU as a whole, its impact on sending countries’ economies has been largely negative. The analysis suggests that labor outflows, particularly of skilled workers, lowered productivity growth, pushed up wages, and slowed growth and income convergence. At the same time, while remittance inflows supported financial deepening, consumption and investment in some countries, they also reduced incentives to work and led to exchange rate appreciations, eroding competiveness. The departure of the young also added to the fiscal pressures of already aging populations in Eastern Europe. The paper concludes with policy recommendations for sending countries to mitigate the negative impact of emigration on their economies, and the EU-wide initiatives that could support these efforts.
Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Mr. David Coady, Frank Eich, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Alvar Kangur, Baoping Shang, and Mauricio Soto

Abstract

Pension reform is high on the policy agenda of many advanced and emerging market economies. In advanced economies the challenge is generally to contain future increases in public pension spending as the population ages. In emerging market economies, the challenges are often different. Where pension coverage is extensive, the issues are similar to those in advanced economies. Where pension coverage is low, the key challenge will be to expand coverage in a fiscally sustainable manner. This volume examines the outlook for public pension spending over the coming decades and the options for reform in 52 advanced and emerging market economies.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper presents a comparison on public expenditure of Austria and other countries. In the past decade, Austria’s government expenditure growth has been very steady, thus avoiding the boom–bust pattern of some other European countries. However, expenditure levels are relatively high, and the difference with Germany has been widening. Compared with other countries, spending is particularly high for pensions, capital transfers and subsidies, including in the transport sector. According to economic classification, the composition of expenditure in the main categories has been more stable. Social benefits and transfers in kind, increasing by 0.7 percentage points between 2002 and 2012, have remained the highest component by far. Nevertheless, expenditure levels in Austria are relatively high, and the difference with Germany has been widening. A cross-country analysis of public spending by different type of categories shows several areas where spending stands out.
Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Mr. David Coady, Frank Eich, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Alvar Kangur, Baoping Shang, and Mauricio Soto

Abstract

Pension reform is high on the policy agenda of many advanced and emerging market economies. In advanced economies the challenge is generally to contain future increases in public pension spending as the population ages. In emerging market economies, the challenges are often different. Where pension coverage is extensive, the issues are similar to those in advanced economies. Where pension coverage is low, the key challenge will be to expand coverage in a fiscally sustainable manner. This volume examines the outlook for public pension spending over the coming decades and the options for reform in 52 advanced and emerging market economies.

Mr. Philippe Egoume Bossogo, Mr. Jerald A Schiff, Ms. Miho Ihara, Mr. Tetsuya Konuki, and Ms. Kornelia Krajnyak

Abstract

More than a decade after the start of the transition process, unemployment rates remain in the double digits in a number of Central and Eastern European countries. That unemployment rates have failed to decline, even in countries experiencing good growth, is puzzling. In this paper the authors examine three interrelated questions: How has the transition from central planning to market economies affected labor market performance? How have labor market institutions and policies influenced developments? Why have regional differences in unemployment persisted? The authors take an eclectic methodological approach: construction of a new data set and a simple analytical model; econometric estimation; and case studies. They find that faster-performing countries have better unemployment records; that labor market policies have some, but not dominant, influence over labor market outcomes; that policies not typically viewed as labor market policies can nevertheless significantly affect labor markets; and that market processes cannot be relied on to eliminate regional differences in unemployment.

International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper examines the driving factors for the broad movements of investment over the past decade in Poland. After booming for half a decade, Poland’s investment plummeted during 2001–03 and has recovered only marginally since then. The paper provides a historical perspective on the evolution of economywide and sectoral investment in Poland, and briefly summarizes possible determinants of investment. It analyzes the determinants of investment more systematically using panel regressions based on sectoral data, and reports the results of in-sample and out-of-sample simulations.
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.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix investigates the reasons for the large, recurrent external current account deficits in Slovakia, which are unusual by the current standards of other advanced transition economies. The paper examines the implications for external sustainability and reviews the causes of the widening in the external deficit from 2001. It discusses Slovakia’s competitiveness and estimates a range for the external current account deficit that could be sustainable in the medium term.