Investment in infrastructure can be a driving force of the economic recovery in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of shrinking fiscal space. Public-private partnerships (PPP) bring a promise of efficiency when carefully designed and managed, to avoid creating unnecessary fiscal risks. But fiscal illusions prevent an understanding the sources of fiscal risks, which arise in all infrastructure projects, and that in PPPs present specific characteristics that need to be addressed. PPP contracts are also affected by implicit fiscal risks when they are poorly designed, particularly when a government signs a PPP contract for a project with no financial sustainability. This paper reviews the advantages and inconveniences of PPPs, discusses the fiscal illusions affecting them, identifies a diversity of fiscal risks, and presents the essentials of PPP fiscal risk management.
Korea’s stars tell of an economy saddled with a real neutral rate (r-star) that has declined significantly in recent decades and is currently below zero. This reflects a significant decline in trend growth, and two large financial crises that triggered significant shifts in the saving-investment balance. Larger fiscal deficits and frothy financial conditions since 2012 have helped offset rising demand for safer assets, preventing the neutral rate from falling further. Nonetheless, the fall in the neutral rate, coupled with its effects on asset returns, has complicated the task of monetary policy stabilization. Korea’s neutral rate is likely to remain low over the medium-term and could fall further, reflecting a structural savings-investment imbalance owing to declining productivity and a rotation in demographics increasing the demand for precautionary saving and convenience yield, and widening the capital risk premia. The COVID pandemic risks magnifying these trends.
Gongpil Choi, Federico Ortega, and Mr. Manmohan Singh
What are the constraints that have stalled EMs efforts to reuse their securities in international financial centers? We discuss the economics of collateral re-use and the present institutional structure in Asian and Latin American countries. Our empirical investigation suggests pledgeability enhances financial stability and reduces dollar funding risk. We also explain the Eurozone collateral pool to incentivize EMs, and why many securities (e.g., BTPs, Italy) are acceptable in London but not EM securities. Looking forward, EMs liaison with International Central Securities Depositories (ICSDs), and global banks’ balance sheet capacity to intermediate cross-border collateral will be crucial for this market to develop.
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.
Nicoletta Batini, Mario di Serio, Matteo Fragetta, and Mr. Giovanni Melina
This paper estimates multipliers for spending in clean energy and biodiversity conservation to help inform stimulus measures for a post-COVID-19 sustainable recovery. Using a new international dataset, part of which was especially assembled for this analysis, we find that every dollar spent on key carbon-neutral or carbon-sink activities—from zero-emission power plants to the protection of wildlife and ecosystems—can generate more than a dollar’s worth of economic activity. The estimated multipliers associated with green spending are about 2 to 7 times larger than those associated with non-eco-friendly expenditure, depending on sectors, technologies and horizons. These findings survive several robustness checks and suggest that ‘building back better’ could be a win-win for economies and the planet.
We provide an overview of the theories and empricial evidence on the complex relationship among innovation, competition, and inclusive growth. Competition and innovation-led growth are critical to drive productivity gains and support broad-based growth. However, new technologies and trends in market concentration are stifling future innovation while contributing to the marked increase in inequality. Beyond consumer welfare in a narrow market, competition policy should adapt to this new reality by considering the spillover and dynamic effects of market power, especially on firm entry, innovation, and inequality. Innovation policies should tackle not only government failures but also market failures.