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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This paper highlights Bulgaria’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) sector and to assess its performance in a regional perspective. A detailed and rich firm-level dataset of state-owned and private firms was compiled for this note to compare key performance indicators of SOEs to private firms in the same sector and to similar firms in Croatia and Romania for a regional comparison. In some network industries, such as energy, SOEs are heavily loss-making. Large amounts of debt have been piled up notably in the energy and transport sectors which, to the extent that it is classified outside the general government accounts, can pose significant risk to public finances in the form of contingent liabilities if the SOEs run into financial difficulties. SOE profitability and resource allocation efficiency largely lag private firms in the same sectors, even when isolating SOEs engaged in competitive market activities and hence classified outside of general government. Coupled with comparably poor output quality, these challenges have the potential to impair competitiveness and productivity across the economy.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper on Former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) of Macedonia investigates the macroeconomic impact of remittances on long-run external sustainability and growth. The paper presents stylized facts pertaining to the characteristics of remittances in Macedonia, highlighting their countercyclicality and importance in sustaining the purchasing power of domestic agents. The paper reviews to help set up a theoretical framework for assessing their macroeconomic impact, highlighting the possible risk of “Dutch disease” developments. The paper uses a Bayesian vector autoregression (BVAR) model to empirically investigate both hypotheses of countercyclicality and Dutch disease effects and puts forward a few policy options that may be explored to better harness remittances to support investment and long-term growth. The paper suggests that strong political engagement in support of diaspora projects is a key point. The mobilization of diaspora savings for private and public investment would maximize the long-term benefits of remittances.
Dilip Ratha and Sonia Plaza

All for One examines inequality and the many ways it matters. In our overview article, the World Bank's Branko Milanovic explains how income inequality is measured and tells us that it's increased in most countries. The good news, he says, is that global inequality--between countries--could be on the downturn. IMF economists Andrew Berg and Jonathan Ostry find that a more equal society has a greater likelihood of sustaining longer-term growth. Other IMF research on inequality finds that financial sector development not only 'enlarges the pie' by supporting economic growth but divides it more evenly; that higher income inequality in developed countries is associated with higher indebtedness--at home and abroad; and that while fiscal consolidation is necessary in the medium term, slamming on the brakes too quickly can harm jobs and cut wages, exacerbating inequality. Also in this issue, we profile Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize for economics. In a tour of the globe, we look at how the African diaspora can help their home countries from afar, try to draw some early lessons from the euro area's debt crisis, investigate how the United States and its neighbor Canada handled public debt--with different results, and find out about the rise of emerging markets as systemically important trading centers. Back to Basics explains the difference between micro- and macroeconomics, and Data Spotlight tells us about a new worldwide survey of foreign direct investment.

Mr. Aleksandar Zaklan, Mr. Paolo Mauro, Martín Minnoni, and Mr. Andre Faria
We trace the history of where and why investors from the most advanced countries directed funds, ultimately helping finance economic development in emerging market countries. To do this, we analyze the determinants of international investors' willingness to hold the external liabilities issued by emerging market countries, through cross-country regressions for both prices (bond spreads) and quantities (bond market capitalization or stocks of external liabilities) estimated at various points during two waves of financial globalization (1870-1913 and the present time). The data are drawn from primary sources for the historical period, and the much-expanded, new vintage of the Lane and Milesi-Ferretti (2006) data set for the modern period. The results suggest that, throughout the past one and a half centuries, a combination of human capital (including informal human capital) and institutional quality has been a key determinant of emerging market countries' ability to attract international investors.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

This paper looks at the longer-term challenges pension funds face as population age and key issues to address to enhance their risk management practices and their role as long-term investors. The paper focuses primarily on Japan, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, where funded pension plans are most developed. The size of pension savings in these countries, their projected growth, and the recent development of funded pension schemes in other countries highlight the fast-growing importance of pension funds for international capital markets and to financial stability.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper analyzes the developments in the labor market of Peru during the 1990s. The study assesses the relationship between the orientation of economic policy and export performance, in particular, export diversification over the last four decades. The paper describes the two-tier pension system and evaluates the long-term fiscal burden of this system. The study also reviews the design and implementation of monetary policy in Peru over the last decade.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

As financial markets develop, a variety of nonbank institutions, such as insurers, pension funds, mutual funds, and hedge funds, have been increasing their exposure to market and credit risks. This chapter is the second in a series on the financial stability implications of this reallocation and transfer of risk, following the chapter, “Risk Transfer and the Insurance Industry,” in the April 2004 GFSR. This chapter focuses on pension funds, as significant institutional investors.