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Mr. Anil Ari and Gabor Pula
Ukraine’s economic performance has been anemic since the early 1990s. A major impediment to productivity growth has been low investment, held back by lack of strong and independent institutions. This paper aims to assess the major areas of institutional weakness in Ukraine and quantify the long-term growth impact of catching-up to Poland in terms of the quality of major economic institutions and market development. Our analysis identifies the legal system as the area where the institutional quality is weakest compared to Poland, followed distantly by market competition, openness to trade and financial depth. Using a methodology that accounts for positive spillovers between the structural reform areas, we estimate that even under the most optimistic scenario, where institutional gaps are fully addressed, Ukraine would need 15 years to catch up to Poland’s current income level.
Mrs. Paola Ganum and Mr. Vimal V Thakoor
Covid-19 has exacerbated economic and social vulnerabilities across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). There is a risk that growth could be lower for longer, with a setback to development. Post-pandemic reforms thus become even more important, especially with constrained scope for fiscal and monetary stimuli. Reforms could boost per capita growth by an additional 0.3-1.3 percentage points, relative to the 1.9 percent average since 2010. Such growth would reduce per capita income doubling time from 37 years to about 22 years. Low-income countries stand to gain the most from reforms. The largest gains come from governance, products markets, and factor accumulation. Importantly, these reforms can be implemented in the post-pandemic environment characterized by weaker social and distributional outcomes.
Mr. Antonio David, Mr. Takuji Komatsuzaki, and Samuel Pienknagura
This paper estimates the macroeconomic effects of structural reforms in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) using the dataset constructed by Alesina et al. (2020). We find that large changes in the reform index have positive effects on GDP and employment that reach 2 percent after 5 years. Furthermore, reforms boost investment, exports, imports, and reduce export concentration, in addition to favoring tradable sectors. Nonetheless, the results also indicate that the effects of reforms have not been uniform across different segments of the population. These findings bring to the forefront the need to consider accompanying policies to ensure that reforms promote inclusive growth. Moreover, evidence from country case studies using the synthetic control method point to heterogeneous effects of reforms on income per capita.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper on Turkey assesses the role of structural reforms in enhancing productivity growth in advanced and emerging economies and discusses results that are relevant for Turkey. The paper investigates the role of structural reforms in boosting productivity growth and describes the stochastic frontier set-up for analyzing factors that affect output through technical efficiency; and subsequently presents empirical results. It also simulates productivity gains from closing the structural reform gaps between Turkey and its benchmark. Structural reforms to improve hiring and firing regulations, the business and regulatory environment, and skills are found to have the largest estimated long-term productivity gains for Turkey. In order to bolster Turkey’s sustainable medium-term growth prospects, structural reforms should be implemented sooner rather than later, and any possible negative reform impacts in the short run could be limited by a reform sequencing and reform complementarities.
Mr. John C Bluedorn, Mr. Shekhar Aiyar, Mr. Romain A Duval, Davide Furceri, Mr. Daniel Garcia-Macia, Yi Ji, Davide Malacrino, Mr. Haonan Qu, Jesse Siminitz, and Ms. Aleksandra Zdzienicka
Cross-country differences in economic resilience—in an economy’s ability to withstand and adjust to shocks—remain significant in the euro area. In part, the differences reflect the lack of a national nominal exchange rate as a mechanism to adjust to shocks. The IMF staff has argued that union-wide architectural changes such as the banking union, the capital markets union, and a central fiscal capacity can help foster greater international risk sharing. Yet even these changes cannot insure against all shocks. National policies thus have a vital role to play. This IMF staff discussion note analyzes how national structural policies can help euro area countries better deal with economic shocks. Using a mix of empirical and modeling approaches, the note finds that growth-enhancing reforms to labor and product market regulations, tailored to country-specific circumstances, would help individual euro area economies weather adverse shocks. Higher-quality insolvency regimes are associated with more efficient factor reallocation following a shock. The note also finds that structural and cyclical policies interact. Greater rigidities make economies more fragile, putting a higher burden on fiscal policy. This is especially true for members of a monetary union. Countries should build fiscal space in good times and tackle rigidities, reducing their need for countercyclical policies in bad times while making countercyclical policies more effective when deployed.
Mariana Colacelli and Emilio Fernández Corugedo
Yes, partly. This paper studies the potential role of structural reforms in improving Japan’s outlook using the IMF’s Global Integrated Monetary and Fiscal Model (GIMF) with newly-added demographic features. Implementation of a not-fully-believed path of structural reforms can significantly offset the adverse effect of Japan’s demographic headwinds — a declining and ageing population — on real GDP (by about 15 percent in the next 40 years), but would not boost inflation or contribute substantially to stabilizing public debt. Alternatively, implementation of a fully-credible structural reform program can contribute significantly to stabilizing public debt because of the resulting increase in inflation towards the Bank of Japan’s target, while achieving the same positive long-run effects on real GDP. If no reforms are implemented, severe demographic headwinds are expected to reduce Japan’s real GDP by over 25 percent in the next 40 years.
Mr. Romain A Duval, Davide Furceri, and Jakob Miethe
The political economy literature has put forward a multitude of hypotheses regarding the drivers of structural reforms, but few, if any, empirically robust findings have emerged thus far. To make progress, we draw a parallel with model uncertainty in the growth literature and provide a new version of the Bayesian averaging of maximum likelihood estimates (BAMLE) technique tailored to binary logit models. Relying on a new database of major past labor and product market reforms in advanced countries, we test a large set of variables for robust correlation with reform in each area. We find widespread support for the crisis-induces-reform hypothesis. Outside pressure increases the likelihood of reform in certain areas: reforms are more likely when other countries also undertake them and when there is formal pressure to implement them. Other robust correlates are more specific to certain areas—for example, international pressure and political factors are most relevant for product market and job protection reforms, respectively.