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Bourn-Jong Choe

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. Asia and Pacific Dept

The Sixth Five Year Plan, as outlined in Bangladesh's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, targets strategic growth and employment. The medium-term macroeconomic framework plan entails the involvement of both the private and public sectors. Human resources development strategy programs reaching out to the poor and the vulnerable population, as well as environment, climate change, and disaster risk management, have been included in the plan. Managing regional disparities for shared growth and strategy for raising farm productivity and agricultural growth have been outlined. Diversifying exports and developing a dynamic manufacturing sector are all inclusive in the proposed plan.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

The Sixth Five Year Plan, as outlined in Bangladesh's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, targets strategic growth and employment. The medium-term macroeconomic framework plan entails the involvement of both the private and public sectors. Human resources development strategy programs reaching out to the poor and the vulnerable population, as well as environment, climate change, and disaster risk management, have been included in the plan. Managing regional disparities for shared growth and strategy for raising farm productivity and agricultural growth have been outlined. Diversifying exports and developing a dynamic manufacturing sector are all inclusive in the proposed plan.

International Monetary Fund

This paper describes major economic developments in Brazil in 1997. A number of issues were analyzed in the paper, including the slow progress being made in the negotiation of the fiscal adjustment programs with the states, the sustainability of the growing current account deficit, as well as the strength of the banking system following macroeconomic stabilization. The paper discusses the post-Real crisis in the states and the state adjustment programs being negotiated with the federal government. Privatization and the associated foreign direct investment flows are also described.

NORMAN LOAYZA, HUMBERTO LOPEZ, and ANGEL UBIDE

This paper analyzes common economic patterns across countries and economic sectors in Latin America, East Asia, and Europe for the period 1970-94 by means of an error-components model that decomposes real value-added growth in each country into common international effects, sector-specific effects, and country-specific effects. We find significant comovements in the European and East Asian samples. In the Latin American sample, however, we find country-specific components to be more important than common patterns. These results are robust to different sub-sample time spans and different sub-sample country groups.

Harry C. Broadman

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.

J. J. Polak

BY THE MIDDLE OF 1951, the “dollar problem” had come much nearer to solution than most observers had considered possible not many months earlier. Some of the more recent improvement in the dollar position of countries outside the United States is due to the rapid acceleration of U.S. imports after the middle of 1950 in connection with the hostilities in Korea. But even before this, the change in the situation had been very pronounced. The surplus on account of goods and services in the U.S. balance of payments, which had been at an annual rate of $7.6 billion in the first half of 1949, was reduced to an annual rate of $3 billion in the first half of 1950. In transactions with the OEEC countries in Europe alone, the U.S. surplus decreased from $3.7 billion to $1.9 billion (annual rates). Measured by the amount of grants from the United States and the use of dollar balances and gold sales to the United States, the improvement in the position of the European countries was even more striking, with the U.S. surplus vis-à-vis these countries dropping from $5.2 billion to $1.9 billion (annual rates).

GIAMPIERO M. GALLO, CLIVE W.J. GRANGER, and YONGIL JEON

This paper presents evidence, using data from Consensus Forecasts, that there is an "attraction" to conform to the mean forecasts; in other words, views expressed by other forecasters in the previous period influence individuals’ current forecast. The paper then discusses and provides further evidence on two important implications of this finding. The first is that the forecasting performance of these groups may be severely affected by the detected imitation behavior and lead to convergence to a value that is not the “right#x201D; target. Second, since the forecasts are not independent, the common practice of using the standard deviation from the forecasts’ distribution, as if they were standard errors of the estimated mean, is not warranted.

EDUARDO BORENSZTEIN,, DIMITRI G. DEMEKAS, and JONATHAN D. OSTRY*

The declines in economic activity experienced by Bulgaria, the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, and Romania in the period since market-oriented reforms were initiated are analyzed. After reviewing developments in these three countries, the paper empirically investigates two questions that are central to an interpretation of the output decline. First, to what extent does the output fall reflect “structural change,” or a reallocation of resources across sectors, rather than a conventional macroeconomic recession? Second, to what extent have demand-side or supply-side forces been dominant in generating the output decline?