Alberto Cavallo, Ms. Prachi Mishra, and Mr. Antonio Spilimbergo
We study e-commerce across 47 economies and 26 industries during the COVID-19 pandemic using aggregated and anonymized transaction-level data from Mastercard, scaled to represent total consumer spending. The share of online transactions in total consumption increased more in economies with higher pre-pandemic e-commerce shares, exacerbating the digital divide across economies. Overall, the latest data suggest that these spikes in online spending shares are dissipating at the aggregate level, though there is variation across industries. In particular, the share of online spending in professional services and recreation has fallen below its pre-pandemic trend, but we observe a longer-lasting shift to digital in retail and restaurants.
Mr. Christian Bogmans, Lama Kiyasseh, Mr. Akito Matsumoto, and Mr. Andrea Pescatori
Not anytime soon. Using a novel dataset covering 127 countries and spanning two centuries, we find evidence for an energy Kuznets curve, with an initial decline of energy demand at low levels of per capita income followed by stages of acceleration and then saturation at high-income levels. Historical trends in energy efficiency have reduced energy demand, globally, by about 1.2 percent per year and have, thus, helped bring forward a plateau in energy demand for high income countries. At middle incomes energy and income move in lockstep. The decline in the manufacturing share of value added, globally, accounted for about 0.2 percentage points of the energy efficiency gains. At the country level, the decline (rise) of the manufacturing sector has reduced (increased) US (China) energy demand by 4.1 (10.7) percent between 1990 and 2017.
Luis Franjo, Nathalie Pouokam, and Francesco Turino
In this paper we build a model of occupational choice with informal production and progressive income taxation. We calibrate the model to the Brazilian economy to evaluate the impact of removing financial frictions on informality. We find that financial deepening leads to a drop in the size of the informal sector (from 37 percent to 22 percent of official GDP), to an increase in measured TFP (by 4 percent), to an increase in official GDP (by 27 percent), to a decrease in tax evasion (by 17 percent) and to an increase in fiscal revenues (by 15 percent). When assessing the response of this policy at different levels of financial development, we find a non-linear relationship between the credit-to-GDP ratio on the one hand, and either the size of the informal economy, or GDP per capita on the other hand. We test these features with cross-country data and find evidence in favor of both types of non-linearity. We also investigate changes in the income tax progressitivity as an alternative policy and find it to be more effective in countries with a medium to high level of financial markets development.
Inclusive growth, narrowly defined in this paper as growth that helps reduce inequality, is achieved if consumption of the poor increases faster than consumption of the rich. The paper presents a simple accounting framework for a per-percentile consumption diagnostics that could inform redistribution policies. The proposed framework is illustrated in application to Iraq and Tunisia.
Housing market imbalances are a key source of systemic risk and can adversely affect housing affordability. This paper utilizes a stylized model of the Canadian economy that includes policymakers with differing objectives—macroeconomic stability, financial stability, and housing affordability. Not surprisingly, when faced with multiple objectives, deploying more policy instruments can lead to better outcomes. The results show that macroprudential policy can be more effective than policies based on adjusting propertytransfer taxes because property-tax policy entails excessive volatility in tax rates. They also show that if property-transfer taxes are used as a policy instrument, taxes targeted at a broader-set of homebuyers can be more effective than measures targeted at a smaller subset of homebuyers, such as nonresident homebuyers.
During the last decade, Hong Kong SAR has experienced a large increase in house prices and credit, prompting the authorities to respond with several rounds of tightening macroprudential rules and increasing stamp duty taxes. This paper provides a Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) model for Hong Kong SAR and analyzes the effectiveness of these measures, and finds that they have helped reduce house price appreciation and household leverage. A baseline small open economy real business cycle model is extended by including a housing sector, financial frictions, foreign demand for the domestic housing stock, and is estimated using Bayesian methods and data for Hong Kong SAR between 1996 and 2017. The paper finds that, without these policies, house prices would have been 10.5 percent higher, and the household credit-GDP ratio 14 percent higher.