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Luis M. Valdivieso and Alejandro López-Mejía

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.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

The third and final phase of European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) was successfully launched on January 1, 1999, when the exchange rates of 11 participating countries were irrevocably locked, the European Central Bank (ECB) assumed responsibility for executing a unionwide monetary policy, and the euro was adopted as the common currency. Over a three-and-a half-year transition period, the euro will gradually replace national currencies, with the transformation scheduled to be complete by July 1, 2002, when the euro becomes the only legal tender for participating EMU countries. In a recent IMF Working Paper, Real Wage Rigidities, Fiscal Policies, and the Stability of EMU in the Transition Process, Norbert Berthold, Rainer Fehn, and Eric Thode, participants in the IMF Research Department’s Visiting Scholar program, suggest that political considerations dominated the design and launch of EMU. They argue that the failure to take economic considerations into sufficient account could have serious consequences for the stability of EMU, particularly during the unsettled transition period.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
The IMF Research Bulletin, a quarterly publication, selectively summarizes research and analytical work done by various departments at the IMF, and also provides a listing of research documents and other research-related activities, including conferences and seminars. The Bulletin is intended to serve as a summary guide to research done at the IMF on various topics, and to provide a better perspective on the analytical underpinnings of the IMF’s operational work.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the potential impact of oil on economic growth and policy for Cambodia. It shows that a hypothetical moderately sized oil sector would have a significant, but not overwhelming, impact on macroeconomic prospects; but reaping the benefits while avoiding economic problems would depend, in particular, on sound fiscal policies. The paper looks at the role of wage and employment policies within the broader civil service reform agenda. It also analyzes wage bill developments since the 1990s and proposes steps to accelerate pay and civil service reforms.
Mr. Qaizar Hussain and Eugeniy Nivorozhkin
This paper examines the capital structure of listed firms in Poland, using firm-level panel data to study the determinants of leverage. Polish firms had extremely low leverage levels, suggesting a growing stock market and a potential reluctance of banks to grant loans to old and risky firms. The empirical exercise finds that large, new, foreign-owned firms, and firms with strong cash positions have higher levels of leverage. Finally, shareholder concentration has a neutral or even a beneficial influence on firm leverage. The nature of ownership may be primarily responsible for this finding.
Ekhard Brehmer and Maxwell R. Bradford

This paper focuses on the subject of development and income distribution, and suggests a method whereby economic development can be skewed in favor of the poor. The paper underscores that improvements in the distribution of income can be achieved by applying shadow cost significantly below money cost to determine the social cost of employing members of low-income groups and to use the social consolidation strategy in the choice of technology in the physical construction of projects. The application of this method would result in the more extensive use of labor instead of capital equipment.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper takes stock of the progress made in meeting the objectives under Indonesia’s Extended Arrangements (1998–2003) program. The paper addresses progress in achieving the programs’ core macroeconomic objectives, with an emphasis on how Indonesia’s economic recovery compares with those of the other major Asian “crisis” countries. A major conclusion of the paper is that, while significant progress has been made against many of the key objectives of the arrangements, Indonesia’s overall economic performance has lagged behind others in the region.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper takes stock of Indonesia’s performance against the original macroeconomic objectives under the IMF’s extended arrangement. The paper compares the performance of the Indonesian economy in the post-crisis period with that of the other major “crisis” countries in the region. It reviews the background to the current extended arrangement and describes the core macroeconomic objectives of the program. The paper also considers Indonesia’s performance against objectives for growth, inflation, the balance of payments, and improving Indonesia’s debt sustainability.


The Monetary Approach to the balance of payments has proven to be a very attractive way to organize thinking about the balance of payments and stabilization policy in open economies operating under fixed exchange rates.1 Among the desirable features of the monetary approach are that data on the macro-economic variables on which it focuses—the supply of money and the stock of domestic credit—are widely available in a timely and reliable fashion, and that the behavioral equation at the heart of the approach—the demand for money—has been the subject of extensive empirical research in many countries. Thus the monetary approach is probably widely used as a basis for the formulation of short-run stabilization policies in many of the countries that continue to maintain an exchange rate parity.2

Mr. Kenneth Bercuson


Since attaining independence in 1965, Singapore has experienced exceptionally rapid growth, low inflation, and a healthy balance of payments. This paper reviews Singapore’s economic development from a long-term perspective and examines some of the factors that have contributed to the rapid growth.