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Holger C. Wolf

In the wake of emerging market turmoil, the role and welfare consequences of volatility have attracted renewed attention. An emerging consensus points to various types of volatility being both a consequence and a determinant of longer-term growth performance. The linkages appear to be context dependent. This paper employs classification tree analysis to explore determinants of consumption volatility taking account of context dependence. The results suggest output volatility, measures of input volatility, and measures of economic development are best able to differentiate between countries with high and low consumption volatility. [JELE21, E32]

Mr. Douglas Laxton, Mr. Guy M Meredith, and David Rose

Data for the G–7 countries strongly support the view that economic activity has a nonlinear effect on inflation, with high levels of activity raising inflation by more than low levels decrease it. In the face of such asymmetries, the average level of output in an economy subject to demand shocks will be below the level of output at which there is no tendency for inflation to rise or fall, contrary to linear model predictions. One implication is that policymakers can raise the average level of output over time by responding promptly to demand shocks, reducing the variance of output around trend.

Mr. Peter B. Clark, Mr. Douglas Laxton, and David Rose

This paper presents empirical evidence supporting the proposition that there is a significant asymmetry in the U.S. output-inflation process. The important policy implication of this asymmetry is that it can be very costly if the economy overheats because this will necessitate a severe tightening in monetary conditions in order to re-establish inflation control. The empirical results presented in the paper show that the conclusions regarding asymmetry are robust to a number of tests for sensitivity to changes in the method used to estimate potential output and in the specification of the Phillips curve,

Mrs. Sarwat Jahan and Ahmed Saber Mahmud

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.

Mr. Luis Catão

'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.