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Mr. Tobias Adrian
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing an unprecedented worldwide economic contraction, leading central banks to reduce interest rates to historically low levels and making unconventional monetary policies—including “low for long” interest rates and asset purchases—increasingly common. Arguably, however, the policies implemented are efficient because they encourage increased risk-taking, and they may have, if unintentionally, increase medium- and long-run macro-financial vulnerabilities. This paper argues that the resulting trade-offs need to be carefully accounted for in monetary policy models and outlines how that can be achieved in practice.
Ms. Manuela Goretti, Mr. Daisaku Kihara, Mr. Ranil M Salgado, and Ms. Anne Marie Gulde
Since the mid-1980s, durable reforms coupled with prudent macroeconomic management have brought steady progress to the South Asia region, making it one of the world’s fastest growing regions. Real GDP growth has steadily increased from an average of about 3 percent in the 1970s to 7 percent over the last decade. Although growth trajectories varied across countries, reforms supported strong per capita income growth in the region, lifting over 200 million people out of poverty in the last three decades. Today, South Asia accounts for one-fifth of the world’s population and, thanks to India’s increasing performance, contributes to over 15 percent of global growth. Looking ahead, the authors find that South Asia is poised to play an even bigger role in the global economy, in both relative and absolute terms. India has overtaken China as the fastest growing large economy and South Asia’s contribution to global growth is set to increase, while more mature economies decelerate. Greater economic diversification, with an expansion of the service sector, improvements in education, and a still sizable demographic dividend are among the key elements underpinning this performance. Based on demographic trends, more than 150 million people in the region are expected to enter the labor market by 2030. This young and large workforce can be South Asia’s strength, if supported by a successful high-quality and job-rich growth strategy. Amid a changing global economic landscape, the authors argue that South Asia will need to leverage on all sectors of the economy in a balanced way, supporting improvements in agricultural productivity and a sustainable expansion of manufacturing, while promoting higher-skill services, to achieve this goal.
Cristina Batog, Ernesto Crivelli, Ms. Anna Ilyina, Zoltan Jakab, Mr. Jaewoo Lee, Anvar Musayev, Iva Petrova, Mr. Alasdair Scott, Ms. Anna Shabunina, Andreas Tudyka, Xin Cindy Xu, and Ruifeng Zhang
The populations of Central and Eastern European (CESEE) countries—with the exception of Turkey—are expected to decrease significantly over the next 30 years, driven by low or negative net birth rates and outward migration. These changes will have significant implications for growth, living standards and fiscal sustainability.
Ms. Louise Fox, Mr. Alun H. Thomas, and Cleary Haines
This paper provides the most complete analysis of the structural transformation among low- and low-middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa to date.
Mr. Tetsuya Konuki and Mr. Mauricio Villafuerte
Excessively procyclical fiscal policy can be harmful. This paper investigates to what extent the fiscal policies of sub-Saharan African countries were procyclical in recent years and the reasons for the degree of fiscal procyclicality among these countries. It finds that a tendency for procyclical fiscal policy was particularly pronounced among oil exporters and after the global financial crisis. It also finds a statistically significant causal link running from deeper financial markets and higher reserves coverage to lower fiscal policy procyclicality. Fiscal rules supported by strong political commitment and institutions seem to be key to facilitating progress for deeper financial markets and stronger reserves coverage.
Mr. Dmitry Gershenson, Mr. Albert Jaeger, and Mr. Subir Lall

Minimizing rent-seeking and improving education will channel the country’s resources to productive uses and enhance growth prospects.

Ms. Pritha Mitra, Amr Hosny, Gohar Minasyan, Mr. Mark Fischer, and Gohar Abajyan
Raising the Middle East and Central Asia’s long-term growth prospects is critical for meeting the region's pressing need for jobs and higher living standards.
International Monetary Fund
Ireland’s major property bubble burst at the same time as the global financial crisis erupted, plunging the country into a severe recession in 2008–10. Public debt climbed rapidly as revenues collapsed and as banks’ rising loan losses increasingly required public support. Following the Greek crisis in spring 2010 and emerging tensions in the euro area, the last act in the process saw the operation of the “sovereign-bank loop”—a vicious cycle where uncertainty about banks’ health fed into doubts around the sustainability of public debt, which only added to fears about the banks. The government lost access to market financing at manageable interest rates, and Ireland entered into a three-year program supported by €67.5 billion of financial assistance from the European Union (EU) and IMF in late 2010. Ireland’s program therefore had three main goals: restoring the viability of the banking system; putting the public finances on a sustainable path and returning to market funding; and restarting economic recovery including by improving growth potential. A large bank recapitalization in early 2011 helped stabilize deposits and other bank funding. The government’s access to market financing was progressively regained from mid 2012, enabling Ireland to exit the program at the end of 2013 and rely fully on market financing at highly favorable terms. The first signs of recovery were seen in strong job creation starting in the second half of 2012, and Ireland’s recent economic figures have surpassed even the most optimistic expectations, with growth of about 5 percent in 2014. Seeking to draw lessons for Ireland, the EU, and the IMF, as well as other countries facing similar challenges, the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI), the Centre for Economic Policy and Research (CEPR), and the IMF organized a conference titled “Ireland—Lessons from Its Recovery from the Bank-Sovereign Loop.” Held on January 19, 2015, at the historic Dublin Castle, it brought together Irish government representatives, European officials, academics, journalists, private sector representatives, and other stakeholders, as well as the IMF’s Managing Director. The conference discussions were anchored by three papers by leading international academics and moderated by journalists familiar with the issues. The event concluded with a high-level panel discussion by senior policymakers.
Nir Klein
This paper provides an assessment of the South African potential output for the period 1985-2010 by applying both structural and nonstructural estimation techniques. The analysis suggests that, while potential output growth steadily accelerated in the post-apartheid era to about 3 1/2 percent (1994-2008), it has decelerated considerably following the outbreak of the financial crisis, as was observed in other advanced and emerging economies. While this indicates that, at around -1 1/ 2 percent, the estimated 2010 output gap was lower than previously thought, there is a fair amount of uncertainty regarding its "true" magnitude, reflecting in part the backward looking nature of the estimation methods. The paper concludes that the potential growth is likely to gradually revert to its precrisis pace and the output gap to have closed by early 2012.