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Ian M.D. Little, Adrian Lambertini, and Carl Dahlman

This paper discusses quantitative indicators that measure such macroeconomic variables as the growth of national product, inflation. The importance of considering several indicators in a dynamic context becomes particularly relevant during periods when needed economic and financial adjustment measures are undertaken. Rationales given for maintaining negative real interest rates in developing countries range from keeping down the cost of servicing the public sector’s debt, or of investment, to avoiding the consequences of other policies.

Erez Aiden, Jean-Baptiste Michel, and Coyle Diane

This chapter discusses the story of European integration in what is known as the European Union. The decision in 1951 by six European nations to pool coal and steel production under a common authority—the European Coal and Steel Community—marked the beginning of European integration. French statesman and political visionary Robert Schuman proposed the coal and steel community in 1950. The chapter also highlights that the 28-member European Union, built around common policies and shared institutions, has proved robust to many challenges and has accommodated great change used by 18 countries. The European Union was also awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. The study shows that the 2008 global financial crisis laid bare fault lines, exposing tensions between EU members and stresses and gaps in institutions and policies that Europe’s political leaders are working hard to address. The IMF’s chief for Europe argues that what Europe needs is more integration, not less.

Alessandro Penati, Frederick Moore, Carl Dahlman, Leif E. Christoffersen, Ridley Nelson, James Blalock, and Shahid Yusuf

This paper reviews the increasing private capital flows to less developed countries. The share of developing countries in the foreign direct investment is small, perhaps less than 30 percent of the total. The effects of this decline in the volume of foreign investment and the continued problem of capital flight have been aggravated by the serious fall in commercial bank lending to developing countries as a group and by a decline in official development assistance.

Mick Silver

Unit value export and import indices compiled from returns to customs authorities are often used as surrogates for price indices in the analysis of inflation transmission, terms of trade (effects), and to deflate import and export value series to derive volume series. Their widespread use is mainly due to their low cost relative to establishment price surveys. This paper provides evidence of substantial errors and bias in their representation of such price changes. Their continued use would mislead economic analysis. The paper considers the efficacy of alternative strategies for their improvement, and argues for a move to establishment-based price surveys.

Johannes Eugster, Giang Ho, Ms. Florence Jaumotte, and Mr. Roberto Piazza

More rapid diffusion of know-how is an important benefit of globalization

Ehsan U. Choudhri and Ms. Dalia S Hakura

The paper estimates an empirical relation based on Krugman’s “technological gap” model to explore the influence of the pattern of international trade and production on the overall productivity growth of a developing country. A key result is that increased import competition in medium-growth (but not in low- or high-growth) manufacturing sectors enhances overall productivity growth. The authors also find that a production-share weighted average of (technological leaders’) sectoral productivity growth rates has a significant effect on the rate of aggregate productivity growth. [JEL F10, F43, O10, O40]

Shidan Derakhshani

This paper describes the World Bank’s mission in a changing world. Conditionality of the Bank is different in several ways as it operates over a longer timeframe and relates to the more comfortable issues of economic growth rather than financial stabilization. The longer timeframes of the Bank’s programs require reaching agreement with borrowing countries on the desirability of maintaining the course that’s being advocated for an extended period. Many developing countries are unduly sensitive about the possibility that they may have to exercise their sovereignty more forcefully in the future.

Raj Chetty

Chris Wellisz profiles Raj Chetty, who is reshaping the study of social mobility with big data

Mr. Thierry Verdier

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.