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Mr. Federico J Diez, Mr. Romain A Duval, Jiayue Fan, José Garrido, Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, Chiara Maggi, and Mr. Nicola Pierri
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased insolvency risks, especially among small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which are vastly overrepresented in hard-hit sectors. Without government intervention, even firms that are viable a priori could end up being liquidated—particularly in sectors characterized by labor-intensive technologies, threatening both macroeconomic and social stability. This staff discussion note assesses the impact of the pandemic on SME insolvency risks and policy options to address them. It quantifies the impact of weaker aggregate demand, changes in sectoral consumption patterns, and lockdowns on firm balance sheets and estimates the impact of a range of policy options, for a large sample of SMEs in (mostly) advanced economies.
Mr. Andre O Santos
The objective of the paper is to assess ownership and control links in the GCC corporate sector. The analysis focuses on the integrated ownership and network arising from ownership data available in Bloomberg and GCC stock exchanges. The paper finds that ownership is concentrated in GCC public sector institutions, holding companies, financial institutions, and family groups. The paper then considers the effect of different definitions of control on the distribution of consolidated debt. Debt concentration is maximized when the wedge between ownership and control is the largest. This is the case when the largest shareholder has at least 5 percent of total shares as defined in Zingales (1994).
Galen Sher
Over the last two decades, cash holdings in nonfinancial firms around the world have increased. This phenomenon is particularly concerning in Japan, where the success of Abenomics depends on a transition from stimulus-driven to self-sustaining growth based on private consumption and investment. This paper finds that Japanese nonfinancial firms have accumulated cash at the expense of investment and dividends, hampering this transition. The evidence suggests that cash accumulation is due to financial imperfections combined with rising corporate profitability and uncertainty, while corporate governance plays only a limited role. These firms have cash holdings available for investment of about 5 percent of GDP. Policy options for encouraging the use of these cash holdings include improving firms’ access to market-based financing and discouraging CEO duality.
International Monetary Fund
In March 2009, the Fund established a new Framework Administered Account to administer external financial resources for selected Fund Activities (the “SFA Instrument”). The financing of activities under the terms of the SFA Instrument is implemented through the establishment and operation of a subaccount within the SFA. This paper requests Executive Board approval to establish the Kuwait Subaccount for Selected Fund Activities (the “Subaccount”) under the terms of the SFA instrument.
Ruben Lamdany and Leonardo Martinez-Diaz

Abstract

The papers in this volume draw on background work done in preparation for the study Governance of the IMF: An Evaluation, Independent Evaluation Office, International Monetary Fund, May 28, 2008 (available at http://www.ieo-imf.org). This compilation presents in one collection the most recent work to date on the subject of governance of the IMF and contributes to the ongoing dialogue on how best to strengthen the governance of this important global institution. Good governance can contribute to the IMF’s legitimacy by ensuring appropriate voice and representation for the membership, by allowing the Fund to fulfill its mandates effectively and efficiently, and by facilitating accountability for relevant stakeholders. Three main conclusions follow from the studies in this volume. First, to strengthen its legitimacy and effectiveness, the Fund needs greater, higher level and more transparent involvement of member country authorities in its governance. Second, the Board needs to play a stronger role in strategy development and oversight, which requires a shift away from the day-to-day business of the organization. Finally, there are significant accountability gaps that need to be addressed if the IMF is to remain effective and regain legitimacy.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Abstract

Asia has rebounded fast from the depth of the global crisis. Initially, the region was hit extremely hard, with output in most countries shrinking by much more than even those nations at the epicenter of the crisis. But starting in February 2009, Asia's economy began to revive. Exports and industrial production have increased again, financial pressures have eased, confidence has largely been restored. What explains this remarkable comeback? What challenges does the recovery pose to Asian policymakers? These are the main questions addressed in the IMF's October 2009 "Regional Economic Outlook: Asia and Pacific." The report discusses the latest developments in Asia, examines the prospects for the period ahead, and considers the policy steps needed to sustain the recovery and rebalance Asia's medium-term growth. Published biannually in May and October.

International Monetary Fund
On May 21, 2008, the Executive Board discussed the report of the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) on “Aspects of IMF Corporate Governance – Including the Role of the Executive Board”. The Joint Statement issued by the Executive Board and the Managing Director following the Board discussion noted that many of the issues raised by the IEO were complex and interrelated. Furthermore, the follow-up discussion would require the engagement of all parties at many different levels, involving not only the Executive Board and Management, but also the Fund’s membership and other stakeholders more broadly. This report presents the recommendations of the Working Group, based on work carried out during June-July 2008. The proposed detailed work plan in Table 1 is an integral part of this report. Section II of the report describes the work streams. Section III discusses issues beyond the IEO report and proposes a monitoring process. Section IV presents the recommendations.
Mr. Iryna V. Ivaschenko and Ms. Petya Koeva Brooks
This paper proposes a new approach to quantifying the effects of corporate governance reforms, by focusing on the dynamics of the voting premiums, a measure of the private benefits of control in a corporation. The results indicate that the reforms have been successful in reducing the voting premiums EU-wide. Moreover, more intense and broad reform efforts (such as introducing national reforms beyond and above the EU-wide initiatives) bring higher and longer lasting benefits. Our findings also suggest that the market for corporate control in Europe has become more integrated, as illustrated by the lower dispersion in voting premiums across countries and over time.
Mr. Luc Laeven and Mr. Ross Levine
The bulk of corporate governance theory examines the agency problems that arise from two extreme ownership structures: 100 percent small shareholders or one large, controlling owner combined with small shareholders. In this paper, we question the empirical validity of this dichotomy. In fact, one-third of publicly listed firms in Europe have multiple large owners, and the market value of firms with multiple blockholders differs from firms with a single large owner and from widely-held firms. Moreover, the relationship between corporate valuations and the distribution of cash-flow rights across multiple large owners is consistent with the predictions of recent theoretical models.
Miss Kinga Z Elo
This paper examines how capital controls affect FDI decisions and how the impact of these restrictive measures varies with different levels of country risk. We construct a model of firms' FDI decisions, broadly in Dunning's "eclectic theory" framework, using "real options" to emphasize economic uncertainty and country risk. Numerical results of the model take the form of "quality statistics" that uncover the underlying dynamics hidden in the aggregate data that is responsible for the low performance of recent empirical studies. We find that increasing levels of capital controls reduce the life-span of FDI investments at each level of country risk and foreign investors' willingness towards risk sharing increases. We reveal a significant interaction between capital control and country risk, resulting in a nonlinear relationship between these and the volatility and volume statistics. We estimate a standard cross-sectional model that provides strong support for our theoretical findings.