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Rasmané Ouedraogo and Mr. Amadou N Sy
This paper studies the effect of digitalization on the perception of corruption and trust in tax officials in Africa. Using individual-level data from Afrobarometer surveys and several indices of digitalization, we find that an increase in digital adoption is associated with a reduction in the perception of corruption and an increase in trust in tax officials. Exploiting the exogeneous deployment of submarine cables at the local level, the paper provides evidence of a negative impact of the use of Internet on the perception of corruption. Yet, the paper shows that the dampening effect of digitalization on corruption is hindered in countries where the government has a pattern of intentionally shutting down the Internet, while countries that successfully promote information and communication technology (ICT) enjoy a more amplified effect.
Mr. Carlos Mulas-Granados, Richard Varghese, Vizhdan Boranova, Alice deChalendar, and Judith Wallenstein
We exploit a survey data set that contains information on how 11,000 workers across advanced and emerging market economies perceive the main forces shaping the future of work. In general, workers feel more positive than negative about automation, especially in emerging markets. We find that negative perceptions about automation are prevalent among workers who are older, poorer, more exposed to job volatility, and from countries with higher levels of robot penetration. Perceptions over automation are positively viewed by workers with higher levels of job satisfaction, higher educational attainment, and from countries with stronger labor protection. Workers with positive perceptions of automation also tend to respond that re-education and retraining will be needed to adapt to rapidly evolving skill demands. These workers expect governments to have a role in shaping the future of work through protection of labor and new forms of social benefits. The demand for protection and benefits is more significant among women and workers that have suffered job volatility.
Mr. Balazs Csonto, Yuxuan Huang, and Mr. Camilo E Tovar Mora
This paper examines the extent to which digitalization—measured by a new proxy based on IP addresses allocations per country—has influenced inflation dynamics in a sample of 36 advanced and emerging economies over 2000-2017. Phillips curve estimates show that digitalization has a statistically significant negative effect on inflation in the short run. Its economic impact is not large but has increased since 2012 and mainly operates through a cost/competition channel. Principal components and cointegration analysis further suggest digitalization is a key driver of lower trend inflation.
Ms. Longmei Zhang and Ms. Sally Chen
China’s digital economy has expanded rapidly in recent years. While average digitalization of the economy remains lower than in advanced economies, digitalization is already high in certain regions and sectors, in particular e-commerce and fintech, and costal regions. Such transformation has boosted productivity growth, with varying impact on employment across sectors. Going forward, digitalization will continue to reshape the Chinese economy by improving efficiency, softening though not reversing, the downward trend of potential growth as the economy matures. The government should play a vital role in maximizing the benefits of digitalization while minimizing related risks, such as potential labor disruption, privacy infringement, emerging oligopolies, and financial risks.
International Monetary Fund
"Capacity development (CD) is one of the Fund’s three core activities and has grown in importance in recent years. It supports member countries’ efforts to build the institutions and capacity necessary to formulate and implement sound economic policies, thereby complementing the Fund’s surveillance and lending mandates. Member countries, partners, and external commentators give the Fund high marks for the quality of its CD. At the same time, efforts need to continue to strengthen Fund CD to serve members’ current and evolving needs. The 2018 CD Strategy Review examines progress under the Fund’s 2013 CD Strategy and proposes a CD strategy for the next five years. It notes substantial progress in addressing the 2013 recommendations, which included strengthening the CD governance structure, enhancing the prioritization processes, clarifying the funding model, strengthening monitoring and evaluation, promoting greater integration of TA and training, exploiting new technologies for delivery, and leveraging CD as outreach. However, background work for this review also pointed to the need to strengthen the CD framework further. The review builds upon the existing CD strategy, focusing on two mutually reinforcing objectives. First, the impact of Fund CD needs to be increased by further strengthening integration with the Fund’s policy advice and lending operations, while continuing to make progress in framing CD through comprehensive strategies tailored to each member’s needs, capacity, and conditions, focusing on implementation and outcomes. Stronger coordination between CD and the Fund’s other core functions will better connect CD with countries’ risks and vulnerabilities and ensure surveillance and lending integrate lessons from CD more effectively. Second, the efficiency of CD needs to be increased by improving CD processes and systems. This will enhance transparency and strengthen the basis for strategic decision making. Five specific areas of recommendations support the strategy. Likewise, they mitigate institutional risks stemming from the Fund’s CD activities. They include clearer roles and responsibilities for key internal and external stakeholders in the CD process; continued strengthening of prioritization and monitoring; better tailoring and modernization of CD delivery with a focus on implementation of TA recommendations; greater internal consultation and sharing of CD information; and further progress in external coordination, communication, and dissemination of information (Annex I)."
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Abstract

Growth in the first half of 2018 was softer than in 2017, especially in advanced economies. In contrast, growth remained robust in emerging market economies and broadly in line with expectations. After rising to 6.9 percent in 2017, growth in China continued to be strong into the first half of 2018 but has likely slowed since, given the latest high-frequency indicators, including weakening investment growth. In Japan, after exceeding potential for two years, growth dropped into negative territory in the first quarter of 2018 before rebounding sharply in the second quarter. In India, growth continues to recover steadily after the disruptions related to demonetization and the rollout of the goods and services tax in the last fiscal year.1 And in ASEAN-4 economies (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand), growth generally lost momentum in the first half of 2018, except in Thailand.

International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
"Digitalization encompasses a wide range of new applications of information technology in business models and products that are transforming the economy and social interactions. Digitalization is both an enabler and a disruptor of businesses. The lack of a generally agreed definition of the “digital economy” or “digital sector” and the lack of industry and product classification for Internet platforms and associated services are hurdles to measuring the digital economy. This paper distinguishes between the “digital sector” and the increasingly digitalized modern economy, often called the “digital economy,” and focuses on the measurement of the digital sector. The digital sector covers the core activities of digitalization, ICT goods and services, online platforms, and platform-enabled activities such as the sharing economy."

Abstract

Digitization promises to reshape fiscal policy by transforming how governments collect, process, share, and act on information. More and higher-quality information can improve not only policy design for tax and spending, but also systems for their management, including tax administration and compliance, delivery of public services, administration of social programs, public financial management, and more. Countries must chart their own paths to effectively balance the potential benefits against the risks and challenges, including institutional and capacity constraints, privacy concerns, and new avenues for fraud and evasion. Support for this book and the conference on which it is based was provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation “Click Download on the top right corner for your free copy..."

Ms. Laura Valderrama
This paper studies the effect of individual uncertainty on collective decision-making to implement innovation. We show how individual uncertainty creates a bias for the status quo even under irreversible voting decisions, in contrast with Fernandez and Rodrik (1991). Blocking innovation is rooted in the aversion to the potential loss of political clout in future voting decisions. Thus, risk neutral individuals exhibit what we call political risk aversion. Yet individual uncertainty is not all bad news as it may open the door to institutional reform. We endogenize institutional reform and show a non-monotonic relationship between institutional efficiency and the size of innovation.
Mr. Martin D. Cerisola and Mr. Jorge A Chan-Lau
This paper assesses productivity trends in Canada vis-a-vis the United States from two perspectives. The first one is based on estimates of total factor productivity. The second one decomposes productivity growth into two sources: investment-specific technical change, associated with improvements in the quality of the capital stock, and neutral technical change, associated with the organization of productive activities. The results indicate that investment-specific technical change is the major underlying cause of the pickup in productivity in Canada and the narrowing of the productivity gap with the United States.