This proposed SDN surveys the various accounting stratagems which governments have used to meet fiscal targets—thereby sidestepping the need for true adjustment—and suggests remedial actions to limit this type of fiscal non-transparency. Types of creative accounting covered includes, for instance, currency swaps to hide a debt build-up (as in Greece in 2001–07), sale and leaseback of government property (for example, in the United States), assumption of long-term pension obligations in exchange for short-term revenue (Argentina, Hungary, and other Eastern European countries), use of public-private partnerships to defer the recognition of investment spending (for instance, Portugal), and reliance on non-cash compensation (such as pension rights) to reduce measured wage bills (in the United States, United Kingdom, etc.) As is evident from the examples given, these fiscal tricks have recently come under increased international scrutiny, highlighting the importance of good fiscal reporting, accounting, and transparency in general, for avoiding unpleasant surprises, ensuring government accountability, and containing fiscal vulnerabilities.
Ms. Jodi G Scarlata, Mr. Juan Sole, and Alicia Novoa
In light of the uncertainties about valuation highlighted by the 2007-2008 market turbulence, this paper provides an empirical examination of the potential procyclicality that fair value accounting (FVA) could introduce in bank balance sheets. The paper finds that, while weaknesses in the FVA methodology may introduce unintended procyclicality, it is still the preferred framework for financial institutions. It concludes that capital buffers, forward-looking provisioning, and more refined disclosures can mitigate the procyclicality of FVA. Going forward, the valuation approaches for accounting, prudential measures, and risk management need to be reconciled and will require adjustments on the part of all parties.
With India's GDP expanding at a rate above 8 percent in recent years, the debate about whether India is overheating revolves mainly about whether growth is above potential-that is, whether the economy is exceeding its "speed limit." This paper attempts to shed light on this debate by providing up-to-date projections of India's potential growth, including by clarifying differences in underlying assumptions used by various researchers that lead to a range of estimates. Estimates of potential growth on this basis range from 7.4 percent to 8.1 percent for 2006/07, and about 8 percent for the medium term. The medium-term potential estimates have risks on both sides: productivity gains and investment could be volatile, but determined reforms could sustain strong productivity growth.
This paper uses the growth accounting framework to assess Sri Lanka's sources of growth. It finds that while labor was the dominant factor contributing to growth in the 1980s, labor's contribution declined over time and was overtaken, to a large extent, by total factor productivity (TFP) and, to a lower extent, by physical and human capital accumulation. A higher growth path over the medium term will depend on securing a stable political and macroeconomic environment; implementing structural reforms necessary to improve productivity and efficiency of investment; attaining fiscal consolidation; and creating space for the private sector.
This paper has examined Papua New Guinea's historical economic growth patterns through a simple growth accounting framework. The analysis shows that swings in growth are mostly accounted for by a significant slowdown in capital input and lower Total Factor Productivity (TFP) growth. It also suggests that raising real GDP growth will require increases in both investment levels and productivity. With a ratio of investment to GDP of 13 percent during the last decade, significantly higher productivity growth and investment will be needed to sustain GDP growth rates at 5 percent or higher. The historical performance also indicates that, in the absence of structural reforms and strong institutions, higher rates of productivity growth will be hard to achieve.
This Selected Issues paper on Papua New Guinea reports that although economic cycles have generally paralleled the many mineral sector booms and busts, the downward trend in growth rates may reflect other factors. Papua New Guinea’s economy is dominated by a large labor-intensive agricultural sector and a capital-intensive oil and minerals sector. The formal sector consists of enclave extractive industries, cash crop production, and a small, import-substituting manufacturing sector. The importance of the agriculture sector is about the same as at independence, reflecting structural impediments that have deterred more rapid growth.
This paper analyzes factors that determine recent economic growth in the low-income countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States.2 The main findings are as follows: (1) productivity gains in export-oriented sectors and expansion of exports may have become the main sources of growth in five of the seven CIS-7 countries, while in the early years of transition the output recovery was mainly driven by consumption; (2) economic growth has concentrated in agriculture and the raw material sectors, and, thus, is vulnerable to changes in external conditions; and (3) structural reforms matter for growth, which is consistent with previous research on growth in transition countries.
This paper studies Mongolia's experience of growth and recovery during the first decade of its transition to a market-based system and compares it with those of other transition economies. Mongolia, like most other transition economies, experienced a painful, initial "transformational recession" before the economy began to recover, with efficiency gains the main source of growth during the early stages of transition. Mongolia's transition process has been relatively smooth compared with other transition economies, probably reflecting the combined effects of some favorable initial conditions, coupled with the early adoption of appropriate adjustment policies and market-oriented reforms.
The IMF Research Bulletin, a quarterly publication, selectively summarizes research and analytical work done by various departments at the IMF, and also provides a listing of research documents and other research-related activities, including conferences and seminars. The Bulletin is intended to serve as a summary guide to research done at the IMF on various topics, and to provide a better perspective on the analytical underpinnings of the IMF’s operational work.