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Ms. Camelia Minoiu and Ms. Shatakshee Dhongde
Current estimates of global poverty vary substantially across studies. In this paper we undertake a novel sensitivity analysis to highlight the importance of methodological choices in estimating global poverty. We measure global poverty using different data sources, parametric and nonparametric estimation methods, and multiple poverty lines. Our results indicate that estimates of global poverty vary significantly when they are based alternately on data from household surveys versus national accounts but are relatively consistent across different estimation methods. The decline in poverty over the past decade is found to be robust across methodological choices.
Ms. Helene Poirson Ward, Mr. Luca A Ricci, and Ms. Catherine A Pattillo
This paper investigates the channels through which debt affects growth, specifically whether debt affects growth through factor accumulation or total factor productivity growth. It also tests for the presence of nonlinearities in the effects of debt on the different sources of growth. We use a large panel dataset of 61 developing countries over the period 1969-98. Results indicate that the negative impact of high debt on growth operates both through a strong negative effect on physical capital accumulation and on total factor productivity growth. On average, for high-debt countries, doubling debt will reduce output growth by about 1 percentage point and reduce both per capita physical capital and total factor productivity growth by somewhat less than that. In terms of the contributions to growth, approximately one-third of the effect of debt on growth occurs via physical capital accumulation and two-thirds via total factor productivity growth. The results are generally robust to the use of alternative estimators to control (to different extents) for biases associated with unobserved country-specific effects and the endogeneity of several regressors, particularly the debt variables. In particular, the results are shown to be compatible with a simultaneous significant effect of growth on debt ratios, as suggested by Easterly (2001).
Ms. Helene Poirson Ward
This paper investigates the determinants of exchange rate regime choice in 93 countries during 1990-98. Cross-country analysis of variations in international reserves and nominal exchange rates shows that (i) truly fixed pegs and independent floats differ significantly from other regimes and (ii) significant discrepancies exist between de jure and de facto flexibility. Regression results highlight the influence of political factors (political instability and government temptation to inflate), adequacy of reserves, dollarization (currency substitution), exchange rate risk exposure, and some traditional optimal currency area criteria, in particular capital mobility, on exchange rate regime selection.