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The June issue of the IMF Research Bulletin looks at the role of IMF programs and capacity building in fostering structural reforms and the economics of Arab countries undergoing political transitions. The Q&A analyzes the neutral interest rate through the experiences of several Latin American countries. The Research Bulletin also includes its regular features: a listing of IMF Working Papers and Staff Discussion Notes, information on the forthcoming IMF Economic Review and the Fourteenth Jacques Polack Annual Research Conference, and recommended readings from IMF Publications.
Goohoon Kwon
This paper discusses the timing of monetary integration and supporting economic policies during a rapid and largely uncontrolled process of Korean unification. The paper concludes that the transitory use of a separate currency in each region and supporting economic policies would help limit the initial costs of unification although the extent of the eventual cost reduction would depend critically on the success of ensuing economic reforms in the North during the transition. Maintaining the competitiveness of the northern economy would need to be a primary policy objective in the case of an early introduction of a common currency.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
A central proposition regarding effects of different mechanisms of fi-nancing public expenditures is that, under specific circumstances, it makes no difference to the level of aggregate demand if the government finances its outlays by debt or taxation. This so-called Ricardian equivalence states that, for a given expenditure path, substitution of debt for taxes does not affect private sector wealth and consumption. This paper provides a model illustrating the implications of Ricardian equivalence, surveys the litera-ture, considers effects of relaxing the basic assumptions, provides a frame-work to study implications of various extensions, and critically reviews recent empirical work on Ricardian equivalence.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
This paper analyzes the implications of credit policies for output and growth and how they relate to the development of the current account and overall balance of payments. The framework chosen for the analysis is one in which the availability of financing is a direct and major determinant of current and future production. The paper identifies three channels through which credit policies can affect production in the economy. The principal conclusions are that limiting the overall level of credit is not a panacea for balance of payments problems; considerations regarding the distribution and the use of credit are important; in the absence of distortions, the current account objectives are best served by permitting credit expansion and investment to take place in the sector with the highest productivity, independent of whether this sector produces traded goods or nontraded goods; and tight credit policies can endanger the current account objectives when prevailing distortions lead to a “crowding out” of productive uses of credit.