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Brian Graf

Abstract

The Consumer Price Index Manual: Concepts and Methods contains comprehensive information and explanations on compiling a consumer price index (CPI). The Manual provides an overview of the methods and practices national statistical offices (NSOs) should consider when making decisions on how to deal with the various problems in the compilation of a CPI. The chapters cover many topics. They elaborate on the different practices currently in use, propose alternatives whenever possible, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative. The primary purpose of the Manual is to assist countries in producing CPIs that reflect internationally recommended methods and practices.

Andinet Woldemichael, Daniel Gurara, and Abebe Shimeles
Achieving universal health coverage, including financial risk protection and access to quality essential health-care services, is one of the main Sustainable Development Goals. In low-income countries, innovative and affordable health financing systems are key to realize these goals. This paper assesses the impacts of Community-Based Health Insurance Scheme in Rwanda on health-related financial risks using a nationally representative household survey data collected over a ten-year period. We find that the scheme significantly reduce annual per capita out-of-pocket spending by about 3,600 Rwandan Franc (about US$12) or about 83 percent of average per capita healthcare expenditure compared to the baseline level in 2000.The impacts however favor the rich as compared to the poor. The program also reduces the incidence of catastrophic healthcare spending significantly.
Robert M. Townsend, Ms. Shawn Cole, Mr. Jeremy Tobacman, Mr. Xavier Gine, Mr. James Ian Vickery, and Petia Topalova
Why do many households remain exposed to large exogenous sources of non-systematic income risk? We use a series of randomized field experiments in rural India to test the importance of price and non-price factors in the adoption of an innovative rainfall insurance product. Demand is significantly price sensitive, but widespread take-up would not be achieved even if the product offered a payout ratio comparable to U.S. insurance contracts. We present evidence suggesting that lack of trust, liquidity constraints and limited salience are significant non-price frictions that constrain demand. We suggest contract design improvements to mitigate these frictions.
Mr. Zhaogang Qiao
This paper estimates an empirical nonstationary panel regression model that tests long-run consumption risk sharing across a sample of OECD and emerging market (EM) countries. This is in contrast to the existing literature on consumption risk sharing, which is mainly about risks at business cycle frequency. Since our methodology focuses on identifying cointegrating relationships while allowing for arbitrary short-run dynamics, we can obtain a consistent estimate of long-run risk sharing while disregarding any short-run nuisance factors. Our results show that long-run risk sharing in OECD countries increased more than that in EM countries during the past two decades.
Mr. Mauro F Roca
This paper develops a general equilibrium model with unemployment and noncooperative wage determination to analyze the importance of incomplete markets when risk-averse agents are subject to idiosyncratic employment shocks. A version of the model calibrated to the U.S. shows that market incompleteness affects individual behavior and aggregate conditions: it reduces wages and unemployment but increases vacancies. Additionally, the model explains the average level of unemployment insurance observed in the U.S. A key mechanism is the joint influence of imperfect insurance and risk aversion in the wage bargaining. The paper also proposes a novel solution to solve this heterogeneous-agent model.
International Monetary Fund
With much healthcare publicly funded, Hong Kong's rapidly aging population will significant raise fiscal pressure over coming decades. We ask what the implications are of meeting these costs by public funding, or private funding voluntarily or through mandates. Our simulations suggest that without early reform, these costs quickly become unsustainable. Prefunding is key. Whether this is done through the public system or through mandatory private provision is less important. Voluntary schemes are likely to result in insufficient savings without tax incentives. Even then, voluntary accounts are unlikely to yield better macroeconomic outcomes, while mandates tend to produce more equitable consumption.
Mr. Kenichi Ueda
There is world-wide convergence in life expectancy, despite little convergence in GDP per capita. If one values longer life much more than material happiness, the world living standards may this have already converged substantially. This paper introduces the concept of the dynastic general equilibrium value of life to measure welfare gains from the increase in life expectancy. A calibration study finds sizable welfare gains, but these gains hardly mitigate the large inequality among countries. A conventional GDP-based measure remains a good approximation for (non) convergence in world living standards, even when adjusted for changes in life expectancy.
Mr. Bernhard Eckwert and Mr. Burkhard Drees
This paper analyzes the dynamic interactions between the precision of information, technological development, and welfare within an overlapping generations model. More precise information about idiosyncratic production shocks has ambiguous effects on technological progress and welfare, which depend critically on the risk sharing capacity of the economy's financial system. For example, we show that with efficient risk sharing more precise information adversely affects the equilibrium risk allocation and creates a negative uncertainty-related welfare effect, at the same time as it accelerates technological progress and increases R&D investment.
Miguel Messmacher
The design of the optimal sovereign insurance contract is analyzed when: the sovereign chooses the contract; effort is not contractible; shocks are of uncertain magnitude; the sovereign can save; and the sovereign can default. Under these conditions: i) an ex ante premium leads to higher coverage; ii) the premium increases with the sovereign's incentive to take risks; iii) a deductible is chosen to limit moral hazard; iv) the deductible-to-support ratio is decreasing with the size of the realized shock; and v) the change in the choice of savings when insurance is available is ambiguous, as there is a trade-off between inducing higher effort and increasing the likelihood of default.
International Monetary Fund
These Technical Notes on France explain integration of global financial markets. The stress tests for the France Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) were designed to yield as comprehensive and detailed a picture as possible within the constraints of the approach. Retail activity by foreign banks in France is small, but significant. The financial landscape in France remains characterized by a large number of idiosyncrasies that affect monetary transmission. Macroeconometric models point to a smaller reaction to monetary policy in France than in other large euro-area economies.