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Christopher W. Surdak and Sara Agarwal

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

Diego B. P. Gomes and Carine Meyimdjui

We examine the impact of digitalization on people’s perceptions of women as political leaders in 34 Sub-Saharan African countries. We find that being a social media or internet user is linked to a higher likelihood of people supporting gender equality in political leadership. However, the intensive margin of usage does not appear to be significant. Furthermore, women’s perceptions of gender equality in political leadership are more sensitive to internet and social media use than men’s. The paper recommends policies for improving ICT infrastructure and investing in technological education.

International Monetary Fund

Two years ago, citizens in the Arab world—fired by their ideals and visions of a better life—ignited a social movement that inspired people around the globe. In Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and Yemen—the so-called Arab countries in transition—people embraced change, ushering in a new era. This issue of F&D looks at the difficulties of this transition, focusing on long-standing forces that shape the region’s economy and offering options for moving ahead to achieve strong, inclusive growth. • Masood Ahmed, Director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, maps out an agenda for modernizing and diversifying the region’s economies in “Toward Prosperity for All.” • In “Freedom and Bread Go Together,” Marwan Muasher addresses the intersection of economic progress and political change. • Vali Nasr, in a Point of View column, underscores the vital role small and medium-sized enterprises play in a successful democratic transition. Elsewhere in this issue, we look at how surging oil and gas production in the United States could shake up global energy markets; the effect of uncertainty on economic growth; and Mexico’s competitiveness rebound. F&D's People in Economics series profiles Christina Romer, former chair of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers and an architect of the U.S. stimulus package; and the latest installment in our Back to Basics series explains how structural policies help to both stabilize and strengthen economies.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Third Review Under the Arrangement Under the Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL)-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Morocco

Diego B. P. Gomes and Carine Meyimdjui
We examine the impact of digitalization on people’s perceptions of women as political leaders in 34 Sub-Saharan African countries. We find that being a social media or internet user is linked to a higher likelihood of people supporting gender equality in political leadership. However, the intensive margin of usage does not appear to be significant. Furthermore, women’s perceptions of gender equality in political leadership are more sensitive to internet and social media use than men’s. The paper recommends policies for improving ICT infrastructure and investing in technological education.
Tao Sun and Ryan Rizaldy
This paper synthesizes four lessons from the experiences of six Asian e-money schemes for central banks as they consider adopting central bank digital currency (CBDC): (i) CBDC should embody four attributes: trust, convenience, efficiency, and security; (ii) CBDC service providers can facilitate CBDC adoption through four channels: leveraging digital technology, targeting use cases, developing business models, and complying with legal and regulatory requirements; (iii) central banks could incentivize CBDC service providers to develop these four channels when considering CBDC adoption; and (iv) central banks may be able to establish data-sharing arrangements that preserve privacy while leaving room for CBDC service providers to explore the economic value of data.
Mr. Francis Fukuyama
Social capital is an instantiated informal norm that promotes cooperation between individuals. In the economic sphere it reduces transaction costs, and in the political sphere it promotes the kind of associational life that is necessary for the success of limited government and modern democracy. Although social capital often arises from iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma games, it also is a byproduct of religion, tradition, shared historical experience, and other types of cultural norms. Thus whereas awareness of social capital is often critical for understanding development, it is difficult to generate through public policy.