This 2014 Article IV Consultation highlights that economic growth in Spain has resumed, and unemployment is falling. Exporters are gaining market share, and the current account is in surplus for the first time in decades. Financial conditions have improved sharply, with sovereign yields at record lows. Business investment is rebounding strongly and private consumption has also started to recover owing to improved employment prospects and rising confidence. Executive Directors have welcomed the improving Spanish economy. They have stressed that labor market reform should be accompanied by product and service market liberalization to maximize the gains to growth and jobs.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the challenge of population aging for Belgium. It argues that the aging strategy should be broadened to include more explicitly the objective of raising employment rates to foster potential growth. The paper discusses assumptions underlying the official aging projections, and presents an alternative baseline scenario on the basis of unchanged policies. It discusses the feasibility of strategies that rely exclusively on either fiscal or labor market adjustment, and illustrates the benefits of a two-pronged strategy. The paper also examines employment effects of reductions in labor taxes in a wage-bargaining model.
This paper provides a number of complementary estimates of potential output and the output gap—variables that cannot be observed directly. After a substantial increase in the tax wedge in the 1970s and the 1980s, which has been widely thought to have been partly responsible for the sharp rise in unemployment rates, the Belgian authorities instituted a policy of reduction in employers' social security contributions. The reforms will reverse the increase in average income tax rates during the 1990s.
This 1999 Article IV Consultation highlights that the Netherlands posted a strong economic performance during the 1990s, based on sound macroeconomic policies and complementary and interlocking reforms to fiscal policy, social security, and labor and product markets. Robust real GDP growth was combined with strong job creation and falling unemployment, as well as increasing labor participation rates. Economic activity remained strong in 1998, with real GDP expanding 3.8 percent. A slowdown that started mid-year was temporary, and growth picked up again toward the end of the year.
The papers presented in this volume edited by Taher H. Kanaan - the eighth in a series of seminars sponsored by the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Arab Monetary Fund, the IMF, and the World Bank - explore the relationship between economic reforms, growth, employment, and social sector performance. Topics discussed include the political and social dimensions of policies privatization in the social sectors, social safety nets, poverty and the poor, and women, poverty, and population growth.
The paper analyzes the wage-employment effects of replacing unemployment benefits by negative income taxes. It first surveys the major equity and efficiency effects of unemployment benefits versus negative income taxes, and summarizes the salient features of many European unemployment benefit systems in this light. Second, it presents a simple theoretical model that focuses on the relative wage-employment effects of unemployment benefits versus negative income taxes. Finally, it provides some empirical groundwork for assessing this relative effect