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Mr. Andrew J Swiston
Korea’s economy has leaped to high-income status thanks to several decades of sustained high growth. However, population aging and shifts in global demand provide headwinds for future growth and Korea now faces the effects of COVID-19 on economic activity. This paper asseses the expected drag on potential growth from these factors and discusses policies that could provide offsetting upward momentum by facilitating structural transformation. We find that potential output growth slowed to about 2½ percent before the COVID-19 pandemic and would have fallen to 2 percent by 2030, mainly due to demographic factors. Moreover, there is a possibility of scarring from the COVID-19 shock as adjustment frictions from structural rigidities interact with shifts in demand and supply patterns, lowering investment and labor force participation. At the same time, industry-level analysis suggests ample scope to raise productivity, especially in services where productivity gains have lagged. Addressing these rigidities could offset a large proportion of the expected downward pressure on potential output.
Anna Fruttero, Daniel Gurara, Ms. Lisa L Kolovich, Vivian Malta, Ms. Marina Mendes Tavares, Nino Tchelishvili, and Ms. Stefania Fabrizio
Despite the increase in female labor force participation over the past three decades, women still do not have the same opportunities as men to participate in economic activities in most countries. The average female labor force participation rate across countries is still 20 percentage points lower than the male rate, and gender gaps in wages and access to education persist. As shown by earlier work, including by the IMF, greater gender equality boosts economic growth and leads to better development and social outcomes. Gender equality is also one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that 193 countries committed to achieve by 2030.
Ms. Pritha Mitra, Eric M. Pondi Endengle, Ms. Malika Pant, and Luiz F. Almeida
Global attention to ending child marriage and its socio-economic consequences is gaining momentum. Ending child marriage is not only critical from a development perspective but it also has important economic implications. This paper is the first to quantify the relationship between child marriage and economic growth. Applying a simultaneous equations model, the analysis shows that eliminating child marriage would significantly improve economic growth—if child marriage were ended today, long-term annual per capita real GDP growth in emerging and developing countries would increase by 1.05 percentage points. The results also provide insights on policy prioritization in developing comprehensive strategies to end child marriage. For example, the strong interdependent relationship between education and child marriage suggests that education policies and the budgets that support them should place greater emphasis on reducing child marriage.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Selected Issues paper investigates the macroeconomic impact of existing gender gaps in Ethiopia and discusses the authorities’ policies in the areas of gender equality and women’s rights, with a focus on women’s economic engagement. Ethiopia has shown a firm political commitment to the advancement of gender equality and women’s rights; however significant challenges around women’s economic participation remain. Whilst most people work in Ethiopia, women face many barriers to formal labor force participation, have lower levels of education than men—particularly at secondary and tertiary levels—and have significant wage gaps compared to men. The findings suggest that, eliminating gender gaps in both educational attainment and the rate of formal employment could increase output in Ethiopia over time by over 24 percent. Improved institutional capacity would lead to better integration of gender issues into the planning and implementation of government policies. Ethiopia has already embedded gender units within the structure of many of its ministries.
Mr. Francesco Grigoli, Zsoka Koczan, and Petia Topalova
Despite significant headwinds from population aging in most advanced economies (AEs),labor force participation rates show remarkably divergent trajectories both across countries and across diferent groups of workers. Participation increased sharply among prime-age womenand, more recently, older workers, but fell among the young and prime-age men. This pa-per investigates the determinants of these trends using aggregate and individual-level data.We find that the bulk of the dramatic increase in the labor force attachment of prime-agewomen and older workers in the past three decades can be explained by changes in labor mar-ket policies and institutions, structural transformation, and gains in educational attainment.Technological advances such as automation, on the other hand, weighed on the labor supplyof prime-age and older workers. In light of the dramatic demographic shifts expected in thecoming decades in many AEs, our findings underscore the need to invest in education andtraining, reform the tax system, reduce early retirement incentives, improve the job-matchingprocess, and help individuals combine family and work life in order to alleviate the pressuresfrom aging on labor supply.
Benjamin Hilgenstock and Zsoka Koczan
The paper examines the potential effects of international migration on labor force participation in advanced economies in Europe. It documents that migration played a significant role in alleviating aging pressures on labor supply by affecting the age composition of receiving countries’ populations. However, micro-level analysis also points to differences in average educational levels, as well as differences in the effects of any given level of education on participation across migrants and natives. Difficulties related to the recognition of educational qualifications appear to be associated with smaller effects of education on the odds of participation for migrants, especially women.


This volume contains seven chapters that consider how fiscal policies can address women’s and girls’ disadvantages in education, health, employment, and financial well-being. Researchers from a joint collaboration between the International Monetary Fund and the UK’s Department for International Development presented papers at a 2016 international conference on gender budgeting at the International Monetary Fund headquarters in Washington, DC, and detail the findings of their work here, which draws on published materials, a questionnaire sent to ministries of finance to all International Monetary Fund member countries, and interviews with country officials and international organizations that offer technical assistance to countries seeking to implement gender budgeting. They describe key gender budgeting efforts planning, allocating, and monitoring government expenditures and taxes to address gender inequality in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America and Canada, the Middle East and Central Asia, and the Pacific Islands and Caribbean.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper describes that with the global downturn in 2007–2009, some of these achievements were partially reversed due to severe negative shocks to growth and changes in the composition of growth. While compared to peer countries, inequality in Armenia remains low; it has increased somewhat since 2009. Poverty has marginally declined after the global crisis, but unemployment remains high. Creating jobs, reducing poverty, and higher inclusiveness would require sustained high growth and implementing pro-poor policies. Better-targeted social policies and more attention to the regional distribution of spending would also help reduce poverty and improve inclusiveness. Poverty declined during the 2000s, supported by high growth. Poverty rate decreased by one third and the extreme poverty declined by half during 2004–2008. In addition to strong growth which created many job opportunities, higher social expenditures played a key role in lowering poverty. Regional disparities of poverty levels remain very high. These disparities, however, are geographical and not across the urban/rural divide. Indeed, contrary to the common perception, poverty rates in urban and rural areas are almost the same.
Bengt Petersson, Rodrigo Mariscal, and Kotaro Ishi
How important are female workers for economic growth? This paper presents empirical evidence that an increase in female labor force participation is positively associated with labor productivity growth. Using panel data for 10 Canadian provinces over 1990–2015, we found that a 1 percentage point increase in the labor force participation among women with high educational attainment would raise Canada’s overall labor productivity growth by 0.2 to 0.3 percentage point a year. This suggests that if the current gap of 7 percentage points between male and female labor force participation with high educational attainment were eliminated, the level of real GDP could be about 4 percent higher today. The government has appropriately stepped up its efforts to improve gender equality, as part of its growth strategy. In particular, the government’s plan to expand access to affordable child care is a positive step. However, we argue that to maximize the policy outcome given a budget constraint, provision of subsidized child care—including publicly funded child care spaces—should be better targeted to working parents.
Patrick Blagrave and Marika Santoro
Gains in labor force participation rates in Chile have slowed in recent years. We examine their determinants using a cohort-model analysis. Allowing for both age- and cohort-specific effects in the context of a seemingly unrelated regression equations (SURE) approach, we find that age factors play an important role in determining participation decisions, especially for males. For females, we find that strong positive time trends dominate the downward pressure from demographics, although those trends have recently dissipated. In addition, we find that both cohort effects and the business cycle shape participation decisions. Using our cohort-based analysis, we construct projections of participation rates, which suggest population aging will put downward pressure on labor inputs, and thus potential output, in coming years. Further increases in female labor force participation—supported by policies— could more than offset the downward pressure from demographics.