This Selected Issues paper analyses the impact of a potential rebalancing of Icelandic residents’ investment portfolios as capital controls are lifted. It applies optimal portfolio theory to calculate the potential rebalancing toward foreign assets, and then makes an estimate of the cumulative impact on the balance of payments and international reserves. Conclusions for the authorities’ capital account liberalization strategy are drawn. This paper also measures the potential budgetary savings from improving the efficiency of public spending in health and education in Iceland. A Data Envelopment Analysis is used to estimate an efficiency frontier by comparing across Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries the transformation rates of public spending into valuable social outcomes.
The 2005 Article IV Consultation for the United States reports that robust productivity growth and high corporate profits have contributed to a strong rebound in business investment and some acceleration in employment. The financial sector appears well positioned to provide continued support to the recovery. Equity prices have risen, long-term interest rates remain low, banks are well capitalized and highly profitable, and indicators of credit quality remain strong. The robust housing market has caused financial regulators to tighten oversight of home equity and other residential loans.
The first analysis focuses on external stability, an important issue in view of Croatia’s external imbalances and the requirements of the IMF’s 2007 Decision on Bilateral Surveillance. The paper shows that the real exchange rate is broadly in line with economic fundamentals and that external debt dynamics are sustainable as long as macroeconomic policies remain strong. The second analysis finds significant inefficiencies in Croatia’s social spending. It also discusses several reform measures to reduce inefficiencies in public spending and generate budgetary savings to reduce the general government deficit.
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. External Relations Dept.
Climate Change: Stimulating a Green Recovery” looks at the global problem of climate change. With the world apparently on an economic recovery path, policymakers are looking at ways to limit the impact of climate change through broad international action. One of the challenges is to balance actions to mitigate climate change with measures to stimulate growth and prosperity. This issue of F&D also examines a variety of issues raised by the crisis—including the future of macroeconomics, explored by William White, former chief economist at the Bank for International Settlements, and the longer-term impact of the crisis on the United States, the world’s largest economy. Our “People in Economics” profile spotlights Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Laureate who “can’t get any respect at home.” We also look at the need for rebalancing growth in Asia, which is leading the world out of recession, and we interview five influential Asians on the region’s fragile rebound. We turn our “Straight Talk” column over to Barbara Stocking of Oxfam, who makes a forceful case for stepping up help to the most vulnerable around the world. “Data Spotlight” looks at trends in inflation, which has fallen into negative territory in some countries during the crisis, and in “Point-Counterpoint,” two experts discuss the pros and cons of remittances—funds repatriated by migrant workers to family and friends back home. “Back to Basics” gives a primer on international trade.