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Can Sever and Manuel Perez-Archila
This paper builds a framework to quantify the financial stability implications of climate-related transition risk in Colombia. We explore risks imposed on the banking system based on scenarios of an increase in the domestic carbon tax by using bank- and firm-level data. Focusing on the deterioration of firms’ balance sheets and the exposure of banks to different sectors, we assess the extent to which such policy shock would transmit from nonfinancial firms to the banking system. We observe that sectors are affected unevenly by a higher carbon tax. Agriculture, manufacturing, electricity, wholesale and retail trade, and transportation sectors appear to be the most important in the transmission of the risk to the banking system. Results also suggest that a large increase in the carbon tax can generate significant but likely manageable financial stability risks, and that a gradual increase in the carbon tax to meet a higher target over several years could be preferable in terms of financial risks. A gradual increase would also have the benefit of allowing for a smoother adjustment to higher carbon tax for stakeholders.
Mr. Dmitry Gershenson, Frederic Lambert, Luis Herrera, Grey Ramos, Mrs. Marina V Rousset, and Jose Torres
Despite some improvement since 2011, Latin America and the Caribbean continue to lag behind other regions in terms of financial inclusion. There is no clear evidence that fintech developments have supported greater financial inclusion in LAC, contrary to what has been observed elsewhere in the world. Case studies by national policy experts suggest that barriers to entry in the financial sector, along with a constraining regulatory environment, may have hindered a faster adoption of fintech. However, fintech development seems to have accelerated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and with the support of recent policy initiatives.
Mr. John C Bluedorn, Francesca G Caselli, Mr. Niels-Jakob H Hansen, Mr. Ippei Shibata, and Ms. Marina Mendes Tavares
Early evidence on the pandemic’s effects pointed to women’s employment falling disproportionately, leading observers to call a “she-cession.” This paper documents the extent and persistence of this phenomenon in a quarterly sample of 38 advanced and emerging market economies. We show that there is a large degree of heterogeneity across countries, with over half to two-thirds exhibiting larger declines in women’s than men’s employment rates. These gender differences in COVID-19’s effects are typically short-lived, lasting only a quarter or two on average. We also show that she-cessions are strongly related to COVID-19’s impacts on gender shares in employment within sectors.
Mauricio Cardenas, Mr. Luca A Ricci, Mr. Jorge Roldos, and Alejandro M. Werner
The fiscal policy response to the COVID-19 shock in most LAC countries was much larger than during the GFC, suggesting fiscal space was not as tight as expected. We argue that it is feasible and desirable, though not without risks, to embark in a more gradual consolidation path than currently envisaged by several countries in the region. Avoiding an early withdrawal of support in 2021 and 2022 is important given that countries are still facing high rates of contagion and deaths, vaccination will take place very slowly, the economic recovery is partial, uncertain and not strong enough to help those most affected by the twin public health and economic crisis. At the center of this discussion is our conviction that fiscal space is not set in stone and it is endogenous to the medium-term targets and commitments undertaken by governments and congresses throughout the region. Also, revisions to fiscal responsibility frameworks should help anchor fiscal sustainability, as well as improve their effectiveness and flexibility. In this context, low-for-long interest rates and easy market access is generating a situation that, in spite of higher debt levels, interest cost on public debt will remain contained in the foreseeable future. Especially if, as argued in this paper, a more gradual fiscal consolidation path is accompanied with stronger commitments and institutional frameworks that ensure debt is put on a credible downward trajectory once the pandemic is under control. Catalyzing these changes, as well as initiating the debate to design other fiscal reforms to strengthen social protection and increase the progressivity of public finances, would require a broad social consensus and political cohesion around several crucial dimensions of public finances: a fiscal pact. On the other hand, if this agenda is neglected the continuation of low growth, social discontent, and political polarization could drive Latin America towards a very dangerous path of institutional and economic decay.
Mrs. Swarnali A Hannan
This paper documents the evolution of gross and net capital flows to emerging market economies and surveys the large literature on the potential drivers. While the capital flow landscape has been shaped by the evolution of both global and country-specific factors, the relative importance of these factors has varied over time and differs depending on the type of capital flows. The findings from the survey of the literature thus underscores the importance of policies in both source and recipient countries in shaping capital flows.