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Mr. Serhan Cevik, Belma öztürkkal, and Bert van Selm

This paper investigates the impact of infectious diseases on the evolution of sovereign credit default swap (CDS) spreads for a panel of 77 advanced and developing countries. Using annual data over the 2004-2020 period, we find that infectious-disease outbreaks have no discernible effect on CDS spreads, after controlling for macroeconomic and institutional factors. However, our granular analysis using high-frequency (daily) data indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on market-implied sovereign default risk. This adverse effect appears to be more pronounced in advanced economies, which may reflect the greater severity of the pandemic and depth of the ensuing economic crisis in these countries as well as widespread underreporting in developing countries due to differences in testing availability and institutional capacity. While our analysis also shows that more stringent domestic containment measures help lower sovereign CDS spreads, the macro-fiscal cost of efforts aimed at curbing the spread of the disease could undermine credit worthiness and eventually push the cost of borrowing higher.

Ms. Manuela Goretti, Mr. Lamin Y Leigh, Aleksandra Babii, Mr. Serhan Cevik, Stella Kaendera, Mr. Dirk V Muir, Sanaa Nadeem, and Mr. Gonzalo Salinas
This departmental paper analyzes the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism in the Asia Pacific region, Latin America, and Caribbean countries. Many tourism dependent economies in these regions, including small states in the Pacific and the Caribbean, entered the pandemic with limited fiscal space, inadequate external buffers, and foreign exchange revenues extremely concentrated in tourism. The empirical analysis leverages on an augmented gravity model to draw lessons from past epidemics and finds that the impact of infectious diseases on tourism flows is much greater in developing countries than in advanced economies.
Ljubica Dordevic, Caio Ferreira, Moses Kitonga, and Katharine Seal
The paper employs two complementary strategies. First, it is pursues textual analysis (text mining) of the assessment reports to identify successes and challenges the authorities are facing. Second, it analyzes the grades in the Basel Core Principles assessments, including their evolution and association with bank fragility.
Mr. Serhan Cevik and Bert van Selm

The coronavirus pandemic is a global crisis like no other in modern times, and there is a growing apprehension about handling potentially contaminated cash. This paper is the first empirical attempt in the literature to investigate whether the risk of infectious diseases affects demand for physical cash. Since the intensity of cash use may influence the spread of infectious diseases, this paper utilizes two-stage least squares (2SLS) methodology with instrumental variable (IV) to address omitted variable bias and account for potential endogeneity. The analysis indicates that the spread of infectious diseases lowers demand for physical cash, after controlling for macroeconomic, financial, and technological factors. While the transactional constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic could become a catalyst for the use of digital technologies around the world, electronic payment methods may not be universally available in every country owing to financial and technological bottlenecks.

International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
Finance & Development, December 2020
Pierre Guérin, Felix Suntheim, and Miss Mahvash S Qureshi

The shutdown in economic activity due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis has resulted in a short-term decline in global carbon emissions, but the long-term impact of the pandemic on the transition to a low-carbon economy is uncertain. Looking at previous episodes of financial and economic stress to draw implications for the current crisis, we find that tighter financial constraints and adverse economic conditions are generally detrimental to firms’ environmental performance, reducing green investments. The COVID-19 crisis could thus potentially slow down the transition to a low-carbon economy. In light of the urgent need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, these findings underline the importance of climate policies and green recovery packages to boost green investment and support the energy transition. Policies that support the sustainable finance sector, such as improved transparency and standardization, could further help mobilize green investments.