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Mr. Tokhir N Mirzoev and Ling Zhu
We examine the existing fiscal policy paradigm in commodity-exporting countries. First, we argue that its centerpiece—the permanent income hypothesis (PIH)—is not consistent with either intergenerational equity or long-term sustainability in the presence of uncertainty. Policies to achieve these goals need to be more prudent and better anchored than the PIH. Second, we point out the presence of a volatility tradeoff between government spending and wealth and re-assess long-held views on the appropriate fiscal anchors, the vice of procyclicality, and the (im)possibility of simultaneously smoothing consumption and ensuring intergenerational equity and sustainability. Finally, we propose what we call a prudent wealth stabilization policy that would be more consistent with long-term fiscal policy goals, yet relatively simple to implement and communicate.
Mr. Andrew M. Warner
The global boom in hydrocarbon, metal and mineral prices since the year 2000 created huge economic rents - rents which, once invested, were widely expected to promote productivity growth in other parts of the booming economies, creating a lasting legacy of the boom years. This paper asks whether this has happened. To properly address this question the empirical strategy must look behind the veil of the booming sector because that, by definition, will boom in a boom. So the paper considers new data on GDP per person outside of the resource sector. Despite having vast sums to invest, GDP growth per-capita outside of the booming sectors appears on average to have been no faster during the boom years than before. The paper finds no country in which (non-resource) growth per-person has been statisticallysignificantly higher during the boom years. In some Gulf states, oil rents have financed a migration-facilitated economic expansion with small or negative productivity gains. Overall, there is little evidence the booms have left behind the anticipated productivity transformation in the domestic economies. It appears that current policies are, overall, prooving insufficient to spur lasting development outside resource intensive sectors.
Mr. Andrew M. Warner

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

Mr. Serhan Cevik
This paper investigates the empirical characteristics of business cycles and the extent of cyclical comovement in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, using various measures of synchronization for non-hydrocarbon GDP and constituents of aggregate demand during the period 1990-2010. By applying the Christiano-Fitzgerald asymmetric band-pass filter and a mean corrected concordance index, the paper identifies the degree of non-hydrocarbon business cycle synchronization?one of the main prerequisites for countries considering to establish a monetary union. The empirical results show low and heterogeneous synchronization in non-hydrocarbon business cycles across the GCC economies, and a decline in the degree of synchronicity in the 2000s, if Kuwait is excluded from the sample, partly because of divergent fiscal policies.
Markus Bruckner and Mr. Rabah Arezki
This paper examines the effect that windfalls from international commodity price booms have on net foreign assets in a panel of 145 countries during the period 1970-2007. The main finding is that windfalls from international commodity price booms lead to a significant increase in net foreign assets, but only in countries that are homogeneous. In polarized countries, net foreign assets significantly decreased. To explain this asymmetry, the paper shows that in polarized countries commodity windfalls lead to large increases in government spending, political corruption, and the risk of expropriation, with no overall effect on GDP per capita growth. The paper's findings are consistent with theoretical models of the current account that have a built-in voracity effect.
International Monetary Fund
This paper investigates the impact of long-run terms-of-trade shocks. Analytically, we show that, if capital goods are largely importable or the labor supply is sufficiently elastic, then natural-resource booms increase aggregate investment and worsen the current account, but Dutch ‘Disease’ effects are weak. We then examine 18 oil-exporting developing countries during 1965-89. Favorable terms-of-trade shocks increase investment and (especially government) consumption, but reduce medium-term savings; hence, the current account deteriorates. Nontradable output increases, in response to real appreciations, but Dutch Disease effects are strikingly absent. Investment, consumption, and nontradable output respond more to a terms-of-trade decline than to an increase.
Christoph B. Rosenberg and Tapio O. Saavalainen

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.