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Christoph Freudenberg and Mr. Frederik G Toscani
Past reforms have put the Peruvian pension system on a largely fiscally sustainable path, but the system faces important challenges in providing adequate pension levels for a large share of the population. Using administrative microdata at the affiliate level, we project replacement rates in the defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) pillars over the next 30 years and simulate the impact of various reform scenarios on the average level and distribution of pensions. In the DB pillar, the regressive minimum contribution period should be re-thought, while in the DC pillar a broadening of the contribution base and/or an increase in contribution rates would help increase replacement rates relative to the baseline forecast of 25-33 percent. A higher net real rate of return than assumed in the baseline would also have a significant positive impact. In the medium-term, labor market reform to tackle informality, and a broad pension reform to restructure the system and avoid competition between the DB and DC pillars should be a priority. Given low pension coverage, having a strong non-contributory pillar will remain important for the foreseeable future.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses Guinea’s 2016–20 National Economic and Social Development Plan (PNDES). The PNDES represents the second generation of planning under the Third Republic, after the 2011–15 Five-Year Plan. Through the 2016–20 PNDES, the authorities intend to address the various development challenges posed by the socioeconomic and environmental situation while ensuring post-Ebola public health surveillance and alignment with international development agendas. The principal beneficiaries of the PNDES are the Guinean populations, but particularly poor and vulnerable groups, the government itself, the private sector, and the regions, including urban and rural areas.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper assesses the importance of financial market developments for the business cycle in Brazil. The results underscore the importance of macro-financial linkages and highlight risks to the recovery going forward. Although some of the rise in credit growth in Brazil can be attributed to financial deepening and rising income levels, it may have implications for economic activity going forward. Cross-country evidence suggests that periods of easy financial conditions can amplify economic fluctuations and possibly lead to adverse economic outcomes. To explore the nexus between the financial cycle and business cycle, cycles are estimated using a variety of commonly-used statistical methods and with a small, semi-structural model of the Brazilian economy. An advantage of using the model-based approach is that financial and business cycles can be jointly estimated, allowing information from all key economic relationships to be used in a consistent way. Financial sector developments are found to be an important source of macroeconomic fluctuations. Financial accelerator models highlight the role of credit and asset prices in shaping the business cycle.
Sophia Chen
I study whether firms' reliance on intangible assets is an important determinant of financing constraints. I construct new measures of firm-level physical and intangible assets using accounting information on U.S. public firms. I find that firms with a higher share of intangible assets in total assets start smaller, grow faster, and have higher Tobin’s q. Asset tangibility predicts firm dynamics and Tobin’s q up to 30 years but has diminishing predicative power. I develop a model of endogenous financial constraints in which firm size and value are limited by the enforceability of financial contracts. Asset tangibility matters because physical and intangible assets differ in their residual value when the contract is repudiated. This mechanism is qualitatively important to explain stylized facts of firm dynamics and Tobin’s q.
Mr. John Kiff, Michael Kisser, Mauricio Soto, and Mr. S. E Oppers
This paper provides the first empirical assessment of the impact of life expectancy assumptions on the liabilities of private U.S. defined benefit (DB) pension plans. Using detailed actuarial and financial information provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, we construct a longevity variable for each pension plan and then measure the impact of varying life expectancy assumptions across plans and over time on pension plan liabilities. The results indicate that each additional year of life expectancy increases pension liabilities by about 3 to 4 percent. This effect is not only statistically highly significant but also economically: each year of additional life expectancy would increase private U.S. DB pension plan liabilities by as much as $84 billion.
Mr. Hunter K Monroe
The demographic transition in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) now underway is rapid compared with international experience, and emigration is playing a particularly large role. This paper describes and quantifies several factors which could magnify the challenge of pension reform. First, for some ECCU countries, continued emigration at historical rates would considerably advance the projected date at which pension scheme assets are depleted. Second, there is a significant risk that assets will underperform, given the large exposures to the highly-leveraged public sector and to a lesser extent the record with private sector investments. Third, portfolio diversification away from the public sector could be complicated by age-related pressure for greater central government health spending.
Mariusz A. Sumlinski
Concentrated distribution of international reserves is puzzling. I show that the growth rates of international reserves bear only a very weak relationship to their initial stocks (scaled by GDP or in absolute terms), and that, by implication, the cross-sectional distribution of reserves conforms to Zipf's law. The law states that the size of reserves is inversely related to their ranking. Evidence in favor of the law is strong and time robust. I compare the crosssection distribution of international reserves embedded in the WEO projections to that implied by Zipf's law and find that international reserves are much less concentrated in the WEO projections than implied by Zipf's law.
International Monetary Fund
This paper presents a technical note on Mexico’s Financial Sector Assessment Program update. The Mexican experience displays interesting characteristics that provide lessons for other countries that still need to design the decumulation phase of their newly established second pillars. The rationale for the choice of specialized annuity providers has been, on the one hand, to avoid the contagion effect from composite life and nonlife insurance companies operating annuities, and on the other hand, the implicit government guarantee associated with a benefit provision for which participation has been mandated by the federal government.
Mr. Alain Jousten
The present paper reviews key issues in pension design and pension reform encountered all across the world. The paper heavily refers to the recent U.S. Social Security reform debate in general and to the Personal Retirement Accounts proposal in particular. A particular emphasis is put on annuitization and risk-taking in the economy. Our discussion signals some inadequacy of the proposed measures with respect to the goals of viability of the system and individual financial security during retirement.