Mishel Ghassibe, Maximiliano Appendino, and Samir Elsadek Mahmoudi
This paper offers empirical evidence that greater financial inclusion of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can promote higher economic growth and employment, especially in the Middle East and Central Asia regions. First, we show that countries with higher SME financial inclusion exhibit more effective monetary policy transmission and tax collection. Second, we find substantial employment and labor productivity growth gains at the firm level from access to credit, gains that are higher for SMEs. We also obtain evidence of a substantial positive impact on SME employment and labor productivity growth from improved credit bureau coverage and insolvency regimes. Finally, cross-country aggregate evidence confirms the employment and growth gains from SME financial inclusion, which appear larger in the Middle East and Central Asia than in other regions.
Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Florian Misch, Mr. Duncan Cleary, and Munawer Khwaja
Tax compliance costs tend to be disproportionately higher for small and young businesses. This paper examines how the quality of tax administration affects firm performance for a large sample of firms in emerging market and developing economies. We construct a novel, internationally comparable, and multidimensional index of tax administration quality (the TAQI) using information from the Tax Administration Diagnostic Assessment Tool. We show that better tax administration attenuates the productivity gap of small and young firms relative to larger and older firms, a result that is robust to controlling for other aspects of tax policy and of economic governance, alternative definitions of small and young firms, and measures of the quality of tax administration. From a policy perspective, we provide evidence that countries can reap growth and productivity dividends from improvements in tax administration that lower compliance costs faced by firms.
As a companion piece to the Board paper on Structural Reforms and Macroeconomic Performance: Initial Considerations for the Fund, this paper presents a selection of case studies on the structural reform experiences of member countries. These papers update the Board on work since the Triennial Surveillance Review toward strengthening the Fund’s capacity to analyze and, where relevant, offer policy advice on macro-relevant structural issues. The paper builds on the already considerable analytical work underway across the Fund, setting out considerations to support a more strategic approach going forward.
Structural policies have become a prominent feature of today’s macroeconomic policy discussion. For many countries, lackluster economic growth and high unemployment cloud the outlook. With fewer traditional policy options, policymakers are increasingly focused on the complementary role of structural policies in promoting more durable job-rich growth. In particular, the G20 has emphasized the essential role of structural reforms in ensuring strong, sustainable and balanced growth.
Against this backdrop, the 2014 Triennial Surveillance Review (TSR) called for further work to enhance the Fund’s ability to selectively provide more expert analysis and advice on structural issues, particularly where there is broad interest among member countries. The purpose of this paper is to engage the Board on staff’s post-TSR work toward strengthening the Fund’s capacity to analyze and, where relevant, offer policy advice on macro-relevant structural issues.
Ms. Pritha Mitra, Amr Hosny, Gohar Abajyan, and Mr. Mark Fischer
The Middle East and Central Asia’s economic growth potential is slowing faster than in other emerging and developing regions, dampening hopes for reducing persistent unemployment and improving the region’s generally low living standards. Why? And is it possible to alter this course? This paper addresses these questions by estimating potential growth, examining its supply-side drivers, and assessing which of them could be most effective in raising potential growth. The analysis reveals that the region’s potential growth is expected to slow by ¾ of a percentage point more than the EMDC average over the next five years. The reasons behind this slowdown differ across the region. Lower productivity growth drives the slowdown in the Caucasus and Central Asia and is also weighing on growth across the Middle East (MENAP); while a lower labor contribution to potential growth is the main driver in MENAP. Moving forward, given some natural constraints on labor, total factor productivity growth is key to unlocking the region’s higher growth potential. For oil importers, raising physical capital accumulation through greater investment will also play an important role.
This paper employs several econometric techniques to estimate the Armenian output gap. The findings indicate that the output gap is significantly positive in 2007 and 2008 and decreased dramatically in 2009. The paper uses these results to estimate a New Keynesian Phillips curve for Armenia, suggesting a significant role of the output gap and inflation expectations in determining current inflation. Finally, the underlying fiscal stance over the period 2000-09 is assessed by estimating the cyclically-adjusted fiscal balance. Most of Armenia’s fiscal deficit is found to be structural. Fiscal policy, while providing counter-cyclical support in 2009, has been largely pro-cyclical in the past.
This paper analytically explores and empirically tests a number of hypotheses to explain the rapid growth in transition economies. Using the latest panel data, the paper finds that growth in transition economies has been higher because of the recovery of lost output, progress in market reforms, and favorable external conditions. These results are consistent with estimates from the global sample that includes 123 countries, and are robust to instrumental variable estimations and other robustness tests. A general implication of the findings is that some of the factors behind the rapid growth are unlikely to continue for a very long time and that the challenge would be to further improve the investment climate, which will require broadening the scope of macroeconomic reform into a second generation of reforms encompassing structural and institutional areas.
Nienke Oomes, Vahram Stepanyan, Gohar Minasyan, and Ara Stepanyan
This papers estimates the equilibrium exchange rate for Armenia using three different approaches: the purchasing power parity (PPP) approach, the behavioral equilibrium exchange rate (BEER) approach, and the external sustainability (ES) approach. All three approaches suggest that the dram was overvalued by about 20–30 percent prior to the devaluation of the dram in March 2009.
This paper analytically explores and empirically tests a number of hypotheses to explain the rapid growth in transition economies. The paper finds that growth in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has been higher because of the recovery of lost output, progress in macroeconomic stabilization and market reforms, and favorable external conditions. Some of these factors are unlikely to continue for a very long time. The challenge is to improve the investment climate in the non-primary sectors, which will require broadening the scope of macroeconomic reform into a second generation of reforms encompassing structural and institutional areas.