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Barbara Herz

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.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

This is the third and final installment of a series of chapters in the Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR) discussing the transfer, reallocation, and management of financial risk. Throughout this series we have highlighted the flow and reallocation of risks throughout the financial system, and the ability of certain market participants to manage new types of risks. Traditional assessments of financial stability tend to concentrate on the condition or resiliency of systemically important institutions, most often banks. In this series, we have expanded the analysis and highlighted the changing flow of risks among market participants, often as a result of policies or standards intended to improve the ability to manage, monitor, or measure risks in a particular sector. However, such policies and standards frequently redirect the flow of risk to less-monitored or less-measured sectors, such as the household sector. As such, the question arises whether, as a result of these policies, the financial system as a whole has become or is becoming more stable, or whether new risks and sources of instability may be emerging.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper describes the IMF’s activities in developing countries. The paper highlights that there are several instances in which the Articles of Agreement require a member to consult on its policies with the IMF. Other actions by a member concerning the exchange rate of its currency, or its exchange regime generally require the IMF’s prior approval or concurrence. Under the IMF’s policy, a member also discusses with the IMF changes in its financial programs in support of which the use of the IMF’s resources has been pledged.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper examines the importance of national planning for economic development of a country. The paper highlights that when World War II began, Soviet Russia was the only country engaged in systematic development planning, and then only since 1929, when its First Five-Year Plan was approved. At the end of the War, Asian countries that either had, or were about to, become independent, embraced planning to a much greater extent than countries in any other region.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

'Restoring Hope: Reinvigorating the Millennium Development Goals' assesses how the world is doing in meeting the MDGs--international development targets that all UN member countries and many international organizations have set for 2015. Our lead article, 'Regaining Momentum,' says that while several of the MDGs are within reach, the global economic crisis has set back progress toward a number of the targets, especially those related to health. Developing countries will need the support of advanced economies in to get back on track. Economist Jagdish Bhagwati calls into question the premise of the MDGs and argues that they should be rethought. Philanthropist Melinda Gates gives us the good news that maternal health has been improving, though we are not yet on track to meet the MDG target on maternal mortality. Picture This takes a look at child mortality rates and finds a more sobering picture. In related stories, economists Arvind Panagariya and Rodney Ramcharan have different views on how important it is to fight inequality. This issue also examines the deterioration of fiscal positions in advanced economies--as a result of both the global financial crisis and the long-run health and pension costs of an aging population. 'How Grim a Fiscal Crisis?' argues that consolidation in advanced economies should focus on spending cuts, given the already high tax burdens in many countries. In 'A Hidden Fiscal Crisis,' economist Laurence J. Kotlikoff examines the serious budget issues in the United States. We also look at the expensive needs of a rapidly aging population in France, and steps China is taking to improve pensions and health care. People in Economics profiles Maria Ramos, the academic-turned-Treasury mandarin who had a central role in stabilizing the budget in South Africa. And the 'Back to Basics' feature discusses unemployment.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

This paper presents an assessment of the shift in market risks to the household sector, which results from changes in the behavior of financial institutions and from pension reform. It focuses on household saving and asset allocation behavior and analyzes how such behavior may be affected by changes to household risk profiles. It examines the products and services that the financial industry has developed, or may need to develop, to help households meet these new challenges. The paper also discusses possible public policy initiatives on the promotion of a broader range of payout instruments and structures.

Mr. Sanjeev Gupta
This paper briefly describes the factors constraining the social protection policies in the Baltics, Russia, and other countries of the former Soviet Union (BRO). The analysis considers public spending in social programs, including generalized subsidies for goods and consumer services, pensions, unemployment-related and social benefits, and education and health care. The paper then lists policies that can help mitigate the worsening living standards of the poor and the vulnerable in a fiscally sustainable manner.