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MASAHIKO AOKI and HYUNG-KI KIM

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.

Christine J. Richmond, Ms. Dora Benedek, Ezequiel Cabezon, Bobana Cegar, Mr. Peter Dohlman, Michelle Hassine, Beata Jajko, Piotr Kopyrski, Maksym Markevych, Mr. Jacques A Miniane, Mr. Francisco J Parodi, Gabor Pula, Mr. James Roaf, Min Kyu Song, Mariya Sviderskaya, Rima Turk, and Mr. Sebastian Weber
The Central, Eastern, and South Eastern European (CESEE) region is ripe for a reassessment of the role of the state in economic activity. The rapid income convergence with Western Europe of the early 2000s was not always equally shared across society, and it has now slowed dramatically in many countries of the region.
Mr. Manmohan S. Kumar and Mr. Guillermo Calvo
This paper examines factors determining the allocation of bank credit to the enterprise sector, and the implications of this allocation for aggregate supply and macro-economic performance, in the former socialist economies. It first develops a model to explain how changes in demand for money by the household sector directly influence the availability of working capital, which in turn determines aggregate output and employment. It then examines factors influencing the allocation of bank credit between enterprises and other borrowers, in particular the government. Finally, the paper discusses relative merits of bank finance and equity capital in financing medium- and long-term investment, and constraints on the development of efficient equity markets.
Uwe Böwer
State-owned enterprises (SOEs) play an important role in Emerging Europe’s economies, notably in the energy and transport sectors. Based on a new firm-level dataset, this paper reviews the SOE landscape, assesses SOE performance across countries and vis-à-vis private firms, and evaluates recent SOE governance reform experience in 11 Emerging European countries, as well as Sweden as a benchmark. Profitability and efficiency of resource allocation of SOEs lag those of private firms in most sectors, with substantial cross-country variation. Poor SOE performance raises three main risks: large and risky contingent liabilities could stretch public finances; sizeable state ownership of banks coupled with poor governance could threaten financial stability; and negative productivity spillovers could affect the economy at large. SOE governance frameworks are partly weak and should be strengthened along three lines: fleshing out a consistent ownership policy; giving teeth to financial oversight; and making SOE boards more professional.
NEMAT SHAFIK

THE INNOVATIVE mass privatization program succeeded in transferring ownership quickly and in a way that insured that everyone benefited directly from the reform process.