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Ernst Lutz and Mohan Munasinghe

An improved way of preparing national accounts could help achieve more sustainable development

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

This issue of the IMF Research Bulletin opens with a letter from the new editor, Rabah Arezki. The Research Summaries are a "Primer on 'Global Liquidity'" (Eugenio Cerutti, Stijn Claessens, and Lev Ratnovski); and "Trade Integration adn Business Cycle Synchronization" (Kevin Cheng, Romain Duval, and Dulani Senevirante). The Q&A column looks at "Seven Questions on the Global Housing Markets" (Hites Ahir, Heedon Kang, and Prakash Loungani). September 2014 issue of the Bulletin also includes updates on IMF Working Papers, Staff Discussion Notes, and Recommended Readings from the IMF Bookstore, as well as special announcements on new staff publications and the Fifteenth Annual Jacques Polak Research Conference. Also included is information on the latest issue of �IMF Economic Review� with a link to an article by Paul Krugman.


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.

Charles Karelis, Mr. Daniel C Hardy, Mohan Munasinghe, Anand Seth, Alan Greenspan, Mr. Prakash Loungani, Todd J. Moss, Mr. Calvin A McDonald, and Mr. Brian J. Aitken

'Global Governance: Who's in Charge?' examines the challenges—financial, health, environmental, and trade—facing the international community in the 21st century and asks whether today';s system of global governance is equipped to cope with them. The lead article asserts that the system that served as a model for much of the 20th century is out of date, and it explores what needs to be done to strengthen it. Other articles on this theme look at the recent U.S. subprime market crisis, the differences between financial crises of the 19th and 20th centuries and what future crises will look like, the need for a stronger system of multilateral trade, and how global health threats can be handled. 'People in Economics' profiles Michael Kremer; 'Picture This' describes the changing aid landscape; 'Country Focus' spotlights the United Arab Emirates; and 'Straight Talk' examines the impact of high food prices. Also in this issue, articles examine development in Africa, and 'backcasting' data in Latin America.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

In many countries, poverty and environmental problems are mutually reinforcing. The only way to break this vicious cycle is to promote sustainable economic growth, which is one of the IMF’s core objectives. To highlight possibilities for sustainable growth and environmentally friendly policies, the Statistics Department and the IMF Institute hosted a seminar on the environment and its implications for the IMF. The immediate motivation for the seminar was a new handbook on environmental accounting: Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting 2003 (IEEA, 2003), now in its final draft version. Five international organizations—the United Nations (UN), the European Commission, the IMF, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the World Bank—worked with the London Group on Environmental Accounting (mainly composed of national statisticians with an interest in environmental accounts) to draft and publish the handbook. Adriaan Bloem and Russel Freeman, both from the IMF’s Statistics Department, give an account of the seminar’s main findings.

Ian W.H. Parry, Mr. Dirk Heine, Eliza Lis, and Shanjun Li


Many energy prices in many countries are wrong. They are set at levels that do not reflect environmental damage, notably global warming, air pollution, and various side effects of motor vehicle use. In so doing, many countries raise too much revenue from direct taxes on work effort and capital accumulation and too little from taxes on energy use.

Ian W.H. Parry, Mr. Dirk Heine, Eliza Lis, and Shanjun Li


Fossil fuels are used pervasively to generate electricity, power transportation vehicles, and provide heat for buildings and manufacturing processes. Fuel combustion produces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and various local air pollutants, and use of transportation vehicles also causes road congestion, accidents, and (less important) pavement damage.

Ian W.H. Parry, Mr. Dirk Heine, Eliza Lis, and Shanjun Li


The first part of this chapter discusses why environmental taxes or the equivalent emissions trading systems (ETSs) should be front and center in getting energy prices right, though design details, such as targeting the right base, exploiting the fiscal dividend, and establishing stable prices aligned to environmental damage, are critical. The second part discusses a variety of further design issues, including specifics for power generation and transportation fuels, the role of other instruments, overcoming challenges to price reform, and issues for low-income countries.