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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.
Mr. Manuk Ghazanchyan, Ms. Janet Gale Stotsky, and Qianqian Zhang
This study examines the drivers of growth in Asian countries, with focus on the role of investment, the exchange rate regime, financial risk, and capital account openness. We use a panel data set of a sample of Asian countries over the period 1980 to 2012. Our results indicate that private and public investments are strong drivers of growth, while more limited evidence is found that reduced financial risk and higher foreign direct investment support growth. The exchange rate regime does not appear to be a strongly significant determinant of growth, but some specifications suggest that more flexible regimes are beneficial in this respect. Financial crises have a stronger dampening effect on growth in countries with more open capital accounts.
Mr. Giovanni Favara
This paper reexamines the empirical relationship between financial development and economic growth. It presents evidence based on cross-section and panel data using an updated dataset, a variety of econometric methods, and two standard measures of financial development: the level of liquid liabilities of the banking system and the amount of credit issued to the private sector by banks and other financial institutions. The paper identifies two sets of findings. First, in contrast with the recent evidence of Levine, Loayza, and Beck (2001), cross-section and panel-data-instrumental-variables regressions reveal that the relationship between financial development and economic growth is, at best, weak. Second, there is evidence of nonlinearities in the data, suggesting that finance matters for growth only at intermediate levels of financial development. Moreover, using a procedure appropriately designed to estimate long-run relationships in a panel with heterogeneous slope coefficients, there is no clear indication that finance spurs economic growth. Instead, for some specifications, the relationship is, puzzlingly, negative.
Ms. Helene Poirson Ward, Mr. Luca A Ricci, and Ms. Catherine A Pattillo
This paper assesses the non linear impact of external debt on growth using a large panel data set of 93 developing countries over 1969–98. Results are generally robust across different econometric methodologies, regression specifications, and different debt indicators. For a country with average indebtedness, doubling the debt ratio would reduce annual per capita growth by between half and a full percentage point. The differential in per capita growth between countries with external indebtedness (in net present value) below 100 percent of exports and above 300 percent of exports seems to be in excess of 2 percent per annum. For countries that are to benefit from debt reduction under the current HIPC initiative, per capita growth might increase by 1 percentage point, unless constrained by other macroeconomic and structural economic distortions. Our findings also suggest that the average impact of debt becomes negative at about 160–170 percent of exports or 35–40 percent of GDP. The marginal impact of debt starts being negative at about half of these values. High debt appears to reduce growth mainly by lowering the efficiency of investment rather than its volume.
Ms. Mwanza Nkusu
This paper demonstrates that the Dutch disease need not materialize in low-income countries that can draw on their idle productive capacity to satisfy the aid-induced increased demand. Diagnoses on, and prognoses for, the Dutch disease should take into account country-specific circumstances to avoid ill-advised policies. The paper emphasizes that using public resources inefficiently can be more painful than real exchange rate appreciations, which may not necessarily embody the Dutch disease.
Mr. Andrea Pescatori, Mr. Damiano Sandri, and John Simon
Using a novel empirical approach and an extensive dataset developed by the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF, we find no evidence of any particular debt threshold above which medium-term growth prospects are dramatically compromised. Furthermore, we find the debt trajectory can be as important as the debt level in understanding future growth prospects, since countries with high but declining debt appear to grow equally as fast as countries with lower debt. Notwithstanding this, we find some evidence that higher debt is associated with a higher degree of output volatility.
Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Alvar Kangur, Mr. Abdoul A Wane, and Mr. Chris Papageorgiou
This paper constructs an efficiency-adjusted public capital stock series and re-examines the public capital and growth relationship for 52 developing countries. The results show that public capital is a significant contributor to economic growth. Although the estimated coefficient for the income share of public capital is larger in middle- than in low-income countries, the opposite is true for the marginal product of public capital. The quality of public investment, as measured by variables capturing the adequacy of project selection and implementation, are statistically significant in explaining variations in economic growth, a result mainly driven by low-income countries.
Mr. Ralph Chami, Mr. Adolfo Barajas, Anjali Garg, and Connel Fullenkamp
Using data on the distribution of migrants from Africa, GDP growth forecasts for host countries, and after estimating remittance multipliers in recipient countries, this paper estimates the impact of the global economic crisis on African GDP via the remittance channel during 2009-2010. It forecasts remittance declines into African countries of between 3 and 14 percentage points, with migrants to Europe hardest hit while migrants within Africa relatively unaffected by the crisis. The estimated impact on GDP for relatively remittance-dependent countries is 2 percent for 2009, but will likely be short-lived, as host country income is projected to rise in 2010.