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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Does economic growth have morally beneficial consequences? Celebrated economists and philosophers like Adam Smith and John Rawls have long recognized the connection between economics and morality. In his new book, The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth, Harvard University professor Benjamin Friedman argues that materialism and morality are not at odds with each other, that economic growth yields benefits far beyond the material, and that economic growth and moral growth go hand in hand, reinforcing each other. At a February 8 Book Forum sponsored by the IMF, panelists Sebastian Mallaby (The Washington Post), Nigel Ashford (George Mason University), Simon Johnson (MIT), and moderator the Reverend Andrew Small (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) joined Friedman for a debate on economic growth, morality, and policy.

Rocio Gondo, Altynai Aidarova, and Mr. Manmohan Singh
This paper discusses migration and remittances trends, and calculates the natural (or benchmark) level of dollarization in Caucasus, Central Asia and others in the region. This natural level of dollarization is conceptually linked to the currency allocation in a portfolio of deposits to maximize welfare, in line with Ize and Levy Yeyati (2003). The fall in remittances due to the economic slowdown since the spread of COVID-19 affects the macroeconomic fundamentals that determine demand for foreign currency deposits. We calculate the natural dollarization level by integrating structural macroeconomic characteristics. We show that despite the reduction in deposit dollarization, there is still a gap with respect to the natural level of dollarization, especially in a scenario of (persistent) lower remittance inflows.
Giulia Bettin, Mr. Andrea F Presbitero, and Mr. Nikola Spatafora
This paper examines how international remittances are affected by structural characteristics, macroeconomic conditions, and adverse shocks in both source and recipient economies. We exploit a novel, rich panel data set, covering bilateral remittances from 103 Italian provinces to 107 developing countries over the period 2005-2011. We find that remittances are negatively correlated with the business cycle in recipient countries, and increase in response to adverse exogenous shocks, such as natural disasters or large declines in the terms of trade. Remittances are positively correlated with economic conditions in the source province. Nevertheless, in the presence of similar negative shocks to both source and recipient economies, remittances remain counter-cyclical with respect to the recipient country.
Ruchir Agarwal, Ina Ganguli, Patrick Gaulé, and Geoff Smith
This paper studies the impact of U.S. immigration barriers on global knowledge production. We present four key findings. First, among Nobel Prize winners and Fields Medalists, migrants to the U.S. play a central role in the global knowledge network—representing 20-33% of the frontier knowledge producers. Second, using novel survey data and hand-curated life-histories of International Math Olympiad (IMO) medalists, we show that migrants to the U.S. are up to six times more productive than migrants to other countries—even after accounting for talent during one’s teenage years. Third, financing costs are a key factor preventing foreign talent from migrating abroad to pursue their dream careers, particularly for talent from developing countries. Fourth, certain ‘push’ incentives that reduce immigration barriers—by addressing financing constraints for top foreign talent—could increase the global scientific output of future cohorts by 42 percent. We concludeby discussing policy options for the U.S. and the global scientific community.
David E. Bloom and Tarun Khanna

The September 2007 issue of F&D looks at the growth of cities and the trend toward urbanization. Within the next year, for the first time in history, more than 50 percent of the world's population will be living in urban rather than rural areas. What are the economic implications of this urban revolution? Economists generally agree that urbanization, if handled well, holds great promise for higher growth and a better quality of life. But as the lead article tells us, the flip side is also true: if handled poorly, urbanization could not only impede development but also give rise to slums. Other articles in this series look at poverty as an urban phenomenon in the developing world and the development of megacities and what this means for governance, funding, and the provision of services. Another group of articles discusses the challenge of rebalancing growth in China. 'People in Economics' profiles Harvard economist Robert Barro; 'Country Focus' looks at the challenges facing Mexico, and 'Back to Basics' takes a look at real exchange rates.