Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Mr. Jerald A Schiff, Peter Debaere, and Mr. Hamid R Davoodi
The end of the Cold War has ushered in significant changes in worldwide military spending. This paper finds that the easing of (1) international tensions, (2) regional tensions, and (3) the existence of IMF-supported programs are related to lower military spending and a higher share of nonmilitary spending in total government outlays. These factors account for up to 66 percent, 26 percent, and 11 percent of the decline in military spending, respectively. Furthermore, fiscal adjustment has implied a larger cut in military spending of countries with IMF-supported programs.
Ms. Katrin Elborgh-Woytek and Mr. Julian Berengaut
The paper analyzes the initial output decline in transition economies by estimating a crosssection model stressing two major factors-conflicts and the legacies of the Soviet period. We link the Soviet legacies in place at the outset of the transition to the subsequent path for the development of market-related institutions. Institutional development (as proxied by measures of corruption) is used as an intermediate variable. An instrumental variable approach is followed to derive estimates that are not biased by the possible endogeneity of corruption with respect to output developments. Assuming that the extent of Soviet legacies was positively correlated with the length of the communist rule allows us to use the years under the Soviet regime as an instrument.
This paper examines the importance of agglomeration economies and institutions vis-a-vis initial conditions and factor endowments in explaining the locational choice of foreign investors. Using a unique panel data set for 25 transition economies between 1990 and 1998, we find that the main determinants are institutions, agglomeration, and trade openness. We find important differences between the Eastern European and Baltic countries, on the one hand, and the CIS countries on the other: in the latter group, natural resources and infrastructure matter, while agglomeration matters only for the former group.
Capital flow volatility is a concern for macroeconomic and financial stability. Nonetheless, literature is scarce in this topic. Our paper sheds light on this issue in two dimensions. First, using quarterly data for 65 countries over the period 1970Q1-2016Q1, we construct three measures of volatility, for total capital flows and key instruments. Second, we perform panel regressions to understand the determinants of volatility. The measures show that the volatility of all instruments is prone to bouts, rising sharply during global shocks like the taper tantrum episode. Capital flow volatility thus remains a challenge for policy makers. The regression results suggest that push factors can be more important than pull factors in explaining volatility, illustrating that the characteristics of volatility can be different from those of the flows levels.
We examine risk spreads charged on corporate bonds placed by emerging market borrowers on international exchanges. While global developments have an important effect on spreads, changes in firm-level default risk also matter significantly in a way consistent with theory and experience in mature markets. In contrast, except during periods of financial crisis, country factors play a limited role. These findings go against the supposition that limited information on emerging market firms or significant agency problems prevent firm-level credit discrimination by international investors. The firm-level information capitalization into spreads possibly reflects protection afforded by the exchange listing on international markets.
This paper analytically explores and empirically tests a number of hypotheses to explain the rapid growth in transition economies. Using the latest panel data, the paper finds that growth in transition economies has been higher because of the recovery of lost output, progress in market reforms, and favorable external conditions. These results are consistent with estimates from the global sample that includes 123 countries, and are robust to instrumental variable estimations and other robustness tests. A general implication of the findings is that some of the factors behind the rapid growth are unlikely to continue for a very long time and that the challenge would be to further improve the investment climate, which will require broadening the scope of macroeconomic reform into a second generation of reforms encompassing structural and institutional areas.