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Mr. Tobias Adrian, Martin Muhleisen, and Mr. Maurice Obstfeld

Digitalization is reshaping economic activity, shrinking the role of cash, and spurring new digital forms of money. Central banks have been pondering wheter and how to adapt. One possibility is central bank digital currency (CBDC)-- a widely accessible digital form of fiat money that could be legal tender. This discussion note proposes a conceptual framework to assess the case for CBDC adoption from the perspective of users and central banks. It discusses possible CBDC designs, and explores potential benefits and costs, with a focus on the impact on monetary policy, financial stability, and integrity. This note also surveys research and pilot studies on CBDC by central banks around the world.

Mr. Christopher W. Crowe, Giovanni Dell’Ariccia, Ms. Deniz O Igan, and Mr. Pau Rabanal

DISCLAIMER: This Staff Discussion Note represents the views of the authors and does not necessarily represent IMF views or IMF policy. The views expressed herein should be attributed to the authors and not to the IMF, its Executive Board, or its management. Staff Discussion Notes are published to elicit comments and to further debate.

Mr. Shekhar Aiyar, Mr. Ali J Al-Eyd, Ms. Bergljot B Barkbu, Mr. Andreas A. Jobst, and Mahmood Pradhan

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for a disproportionate share of output and employment in Europe but are still highly dependent on bank finance, which dried up or became prohibitively expensive during the crisis. Broader access to alternative, long-term finance through securitization would limit their exposure to banking sector difficulties and thus help revive credit. The SDN examines the various impediments to the development of a well-functioning and liquid securitization market in Europe and proposes a comprehensive multi-faceted strategy to support its development through regulatory reforms and infrastructure development together with targeted and time-bound official sector support. This would require (i) greater regulatory differentiation between securities of different quality and underlying asset structures; (ii) harmonized national enforcement and insolvency frameworks and standardized reporting requirements; and (iii) greater capacity of EU authorities to support new issuance. These measures would be underpinned by a pan-European definition of high-quality securitization (HQS) comprising simple, transparent and efficient asset structures receiving preferential regulatory treatment.

Miguel A. Segoviano, Bradley Jones, Peter Linder, Johannes Blankenheim, and José Viñals

The discussion in this note seeks to preserve the beneficial features of securitization while mitigating those that may pose risks to financial stability. A comprehensive set of reforms—targeting both supply- and demand-side inefficiencies—will be needed to put securitization back on a sound, growth-supportive footing. The note departs from others in proposing a broad suite of principles applicable to various elements of the financial intermediation chain. After indentifying where policy makers have already made progress, we then propose measures to address remaining impediments to the rehabilitation of securitization markets. We also encourage more consistent industry standards for the classification of risk (albeit applied at a granular rather than overarching level). Finally, we introduce various initiatives that could aid in fostering the development of a diversified non-bank investor base for securitization in Europe.

Mr. Stijn Claessens, Mr. Zoltan Pozsar, Mr. Lev Ratnovski, Mr. Manmohan Singh, and Mr. Olivier J Blanchard

This note outlines the basic economics of the shadow banking system, highlights (systemic) risks related to it, and suggests implications for measurement and regulatory approaches.

Erlend Nier, Mr. Luis Ignacio Jácome, Jacek Osinski, and Pamela Madrid
Staff Discussion Notes showcase the latest policy-related analysis and research being developed by individual IMF staff and are published to elicit comment and to further debate. These papers are generally brief and written in nontechnical language, and so are aimed at a broad audience interested in economic policy issues. This Web-only series replaced Staff Position Notes in January 2011.
Mr. Olivier J Blanchard, Mr. Giovanni Dell'Ariccia, and Mr. Paolo Mauro
This is a Chinese translation of "Rethinking Macro Policy II" (SDN/13/03). This note explores how the economic thinking about macroeconomic management has evolved since the crisis began. It discusses developments in monetary policy, including unconventional measures; the challenges associated with increased public debt; and the policy potential, risks, and institutional challenges associated with new macroprudential measures. Rationale: The note contributes to the ongoing debate on several aspects of macroeconomic policy. It follows up on the earlier “Rethinking” paper, refining the analysis in light of the events of the past two years. Given the relatively fluid state of the debate (e.g., recent challenges to central bank independence), it is useful to highlight that while many of the tenets of the pre-crisis consensus have been challenged, others (such as the desirability of central bank independence) remain valid.
Mr. Bas B. Bakker, Mr. Giovanni Dell'Ariccia, Mr. Luc Laeven, Jérôme Vandenbussche, Ms. Deniz O Igan, and Mr. Hui Tong
This note explores the costs and benefits of different policy options to reduce the risks associated with credit booms, drawing upon several country experiences and the findings from econometric analysis.