Mr. Lorenzo U Figliuoli, Valentina Flamini, Misael Galdamez, Frederic Lambert, Mike Li, Mr. Bogdan Lissovolik, Rosalind Mowatt, Jaume Puig, Mr. Alexander D Klemm, Mauricio Soto, Mr. Saji Thomas, Christoph Freudenberg, and Anna Orthofer
This paper estimates the fiscal costs of population aging in Latin America and provides policy recommendations on reforms needed to make these costs manageable. Although Latin American societies are still younger than most advanced economies, like other emerging markets the region is already in a process of population aging that is expected to accelerate in the remainder of the century. This will directly affect fiscal sustainability by putting pressure on public pension and health care systems in the region that are already more burdened than, for example, in emerging Asia, a region with a similar demographic structure. A stylized cross-country exercise, drawing on demographic projections from the United Nations and methodologies developed by the IMF to derive public spending projections, is used to quantify long-term fiscal gaps generated by population aging in 18 Latin American countries.
Several aspects of current pensions and health care systems in Latin Amer-ica make the region’s long-term fiscal positions particularly vulnerable to population aging.
Honduras’s Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes highlights Data Module, response by the authorities, and detailed assessments using the data quality assessment framework. Meeting General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) recommendations will also require disseminating production indices. To follow GDDS recommendations and facilitate eventual subscription to the Special Data Dissemination Standard, it would be important that key agencies move in the future with plans for improvement. To participate in the GDDS, the authorities would need to appoint a GDDS coordinator and commit to follow GDDS recommendations for selected data.
This paper reviews economic developments in Venezuela during 1995–97. The overall public sector balance shifted from a deficit of 7 percent of GDP in 1995 to a surplus of 7¼ percent of GDP in 1996. This massive swing was owing to a major increase in the underlying oil surplus, a decline in the non-oil underlying deficit, and the fact that virtually no financial assistance was provided to the banking system, compared with the cumulative 16½ percent of GDP provided in 1994–95 in the context of the banking crisis.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
The Web edition of the IMF Survey is updated several times a week, and contains a wealth of articles about topical policy and economic issues in the news. Access the latest IMF research, read interviews, and listen to podcasts given by top IMF economists on important issues in the global economy. www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/home.aspx
Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Erwin H Tiongson, and Mr. Emanuele Baldacci
This paper examines the factors affecting the persistence of fiscal consolidation in 25 emerging market countries during 1980-2001. It proposes a new approach for defining spells of fiscal consolidation. The results indicate that the probability of ending a fiscal adjustment is affected by the legacy of previous fiscal failures, the size of the deficit, the composition of spending, and level of total revenues. There is also some evidence that the initial debt stock, exchange rate developments, inflation, and the unemployment rate have an impact on the persistence of adjustments.
Mr. Thomas F. Cosimano, Mr. Ralph Chami, and Mr. Adolfo Barajas
Drawing from a unique data set comprising 2,893 banks and 152 countries over the period 1987 to 2000, we test whether the adoption of the Basel Accord by Latin American and Caribbean countries was responsible for the serious slowdowns in credit growth experienced by these countries. We find that, on average, both bank capitalization and lending activities in Latin America increased after Basel. Consequently, Basel did not seem to lead to an overall credit decline. However, we do find evidence that loan growth became more sensitive to some risk factors. Our study suggests that the upcoming adoption of Basel II might cause greater procyclicality of credit.
Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Christopher Faircloth, and Marijn Verhoeven
This paper examines trends in government spending in Latin America from the mid-1990s to 2006. It also examines key policy issues, including the cyclicality of spending, public investment, public employment, and social expenditures. It finds that primary expenditures have trended upward for the past ten years as a share of GDP, driven by increases in current spending, in particular for social expenditures. Fluctuations in real spending have continued to follow a procyclical pattern. The paper finds that there is substantial scope to improve the efficiency of public investment, public employment, and social spending.
Mr. Leonardo Leiderman, Mr. Rodolfo Maino, and Mr. Eric Parrado
The shift to inflation targeting has contributed to the relatively low inflation observed in some emerging market economies although, as noted by many economists, the preconditions required for a successful implementation were not in place. The existence of managed exchange rate regimes, a narrow base of domestic nominal financial assets, the lack of market instruments to hedge exchange rate risks, together with fear of floating and dollarization, have been stressed as factors that might weaken the efficacy of monetary policy. By examining various aspects of monetary transmission and policy formulation in two highly dollarized economies (Peru and Bolivia) vis-à-vis two economies with low levels of dollarization (Chile and Colombia), we found that, while dollarization imposes differences in both the transmission capacity of monetary policy and its impact on real and financial sectors, it does not preclude the use of inflation targeting as a policy regime.
The public debt profile has improved in Bolivia in recent years, with regard to both the maturity structure and the currency composition. This paper analyzes changes in the public debt profile in Bolivia since 2000, and the role played by macroeconomic factors and the debt management strategy adopted by the authorities. We find that both played an important role, in particular the strengthening of the fiscal and international reserves positions and the appreciation of the Boliviano; and regulations promoting the use of the domestic currency. Our findings are consistent with Claessens, Klingebiel and Schmukler (2007)—who found that macro and institutional factors had an impact on debt profiles for a group of emerging and developed economies—and are in contrast with the original sin literature, which stresses that profiles are mainly determined by market incompleteness. We also compare the debt profile of Bolivia with those of other countries in Latin America, and find that there is still room for improvement against the regional benchmark, both in terms of maturity structure and currency composition.