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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Following is a summary of the September 28 opening address of the Annual Meetings Chairman, Mahesh Acharya, Governor of the Bank and the IMF for Nepal.

Hulya Ulku and Mr. Tito Cordella
Under what conditions should grants be preferred to loans? To answer this question, we present a simple model à la Krugman (1988) and show that, for any given level of developmental assistance, the optimal degree of loan concessionality is positively associated with economic growth if countries are poor, have bad policies, and high debt obligations. We then test our model by estimating a modified growth model for a panel of developing countries, and find evidence supporting our predictions. Finally, we assess the determinants of current aid allocations and find that the degree of concessionality is negatively correlated with countries' levels of development.
Yongzheng Yang, Mr. Robert Powell, and Mr. Sanjeev Gupta
This paper surveys the economic literature on the scaling-up of aid to Africa. It provides a checklist of issues that need to be considered when preparing a long term macroeconomic projection for a country involving the assumption of a significant increase in aid. Such scaling-up scenarios are most likely to be developed in the context of a country's efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with the support of the international donor community. The paper stresses that when preparing a scaling-up scenario it is critical to have a detailed understanding of the likely use of additional aid flows.
Ms. Mwanza Nkusu
This paper demonstrates that the Dutch disease need not materialize in low-income countries that can draw on their idle productive capacity to satisfy the aid-induced increased demand. Diagnoses on, and prognoses for, the Dutch disease should take into account country-specific circumstances to avoid ill-advised policies. The paper emphasizes that using public resources inefficiently can be more painful than real exchange rate appreciations, which may not necessarily embody the Dutch disease.
Mr. Sebastian Acevedo Mejia
This paper seeks to determine the effects that natural disasters have on per capita GDP and on the debt to GDP ratio in the Caribbean. Two types of natural disasters are studied –storms and floods– given their prevalence in the region, while considering the effects of both moderate and severe disasters. I use a vector autoregressive model with exogenous natural disasters shocks, in a panel of 12 Caribbean countries over a period of 40 years. The results show that both storms and floods have a negative effect on growth, and that debt increases with floods but not with storms. However, in a subsample I find that storms significantly increase debt in the short and long run. I also find weak evidence that debt relief contributes to ease the negative effects of storms on debt.