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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Aruba managed to contain the pandemic in the first months of the outbreak but experienced a resurgence of new infections in the summer. The economic impact of COVID-19 is particularly severe given Aruba’s high dependency on tourism. While the authorities’ swift response has helped contain the human and economic damage, it could not avoid a severe GDP contraction.
Benjamin Carton and Mr. Armand Fouejieu
Although the Netherlands entered the so-called Great Lockdown with a strong fiscal position, the Dutch fiscal balance is projected to deteriorate by an unprecedented magnitude, largely as a result of necessary fiscal measures deployed to weather the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper performs a stochastic analysis of risks to Dutch fiscal and debt sustainability over the next decade, taking into account alternative recovery scenarios and associated fiscal consolidation paths and also a range of macroeconomic shocks drawn from the historical experience of the Netherlands. The simulations show that even under significant downturn scenarios and assuming an initially less favorable fiscal position due to persistent economic effects of the pandemic, risks to the Dutch fiscal and debt sustainability would remain contained.
International Monetary Fund. Secretary's Department

Abstract

This year, as the world faced a crisis like no other, the International Monetary Fund and its member countries swung into action to save lives and put a floor under the world economy. But the outlook remains uncertain. Countries now face a “long ascent” that will be difficult, uneven, uncertain, and prone to setbacks. The IMF is working to help countries focus on "policies for people" to generate a transformational recovery through job-rich growth that benefits all.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation focuses on Curaçao and Sint Maarten’s near and medium-term challenges and policy priorities and was prepared before coronavirus disease 2019 became a global pandemic and resulted in unprecedented strains in global trade, commodity and financial markets. The fiscal position in Curaçao improved in the past two years, in part due to implemented fiscal measures. Both Curaçao and Sint Maarten would benefit from introducing a Fiscal Responsibility Framework. It could incorporate a central government debt ratio as a long-term anchor and operational rules calibrated to meet it. The report suggests that risks in the financial sector need to be addressed as a matter of priority. The authorities should develop a strategy for addressing financial sector vulnerabilities with the objective of preserving financial stability while minimizing fiscal costs. Significant strengthening of supervision and a complete overhaul of the bank resolution framework are also urgently needed. An across-the board improvement in the governance framework should be a key priority in both countries. Vulnerabilities in the financial system point to the need to strengthen governance in the financial sector.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Weak growth and underlying structural vulnerabilities persist in both Curaçao and Sint Maarten. Worsened macroeconomic conditions—reflecting the spillovers from one of Curaçao’s largest trading partners and the devastation from Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Sint Maarten—make the need for policy adjustment and structural reforms aimed at ensuring fiscal sustainability, enhancing competitiveness, strengthening investor confidence, and developing capacity more urgent.
Mr. Ashraf Khan
This paper describes how behavioral elements are relevant to financial supervision, regulation, and central banking. It focuses on (1) behavioral effects of norms (social, legal, and market); (2) behavior of others (internalization, identification, and compliance); and (3) psychological biases. It stresses that financial supervisors, regulators, and central banks have not yet realized the full potential that these behavioral elements hold. To do so, they need to devise a behavioral approach that includes aspects relating to individual and group behavior. The paper provides case examples of experiments with such an approach, including behavioral supervision. Finally, it highlights areas for further research.
Mr. Roel M. W. J. Beetsma, Mr. Xavier Debrun, and Randolph Sloof
The global surge in independent fiscal councils (IFCs) raises three related questions: How can IFCs improve the conduct of fiscal policy? Are they simultaneously desirable for voters and elected policymakers? And are they resilient to changes in political conditions? We build a model in which voters cannot observe the true competence of elected policymakers. IFCs’ role is to mitigate this imperfection. Equilibrium public debt is excessive because policymakers are “partisan” and “opportunistic.” If voters only care about policymakers’ competence, both the incumbent and the voters would be better off with an IFC as the debt bias would shrink. However, when other considerations eclipse competence and give the incumbent a strong electoral advantage or disadvantage, setting up an IFC may be counterproductive as the debt bias would increase. If the incumbent holds a moderate electoral advantage or disadvantage, voters would prefer an IFC, but an incumbent with a large advantage may prefer not to have an IFC. The main policy implications are that (i) establishing an IFC can only lower the debt bias if voters care sufficiently about policymakers’ competence; (ii) not all political environments are conducive to the emergence of IFCs; and (iii) IFCs are consequently vulnerable to shifts in political conditions.