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International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper reviews empirical evidence on the main determinants of the real bilateral exchange rate between the Canadian and the U.S. dollars, with particular emphasis on the role played by cyclical and longer-term economic factors. The paper aims to identify the nature of the shocks that have contributed to the recent downward trend in the Canadian dollar. The analysis shows that fluctuations in the real bilateral exchange rate can be explained reasonably well by its long-term fundamentals. The paper also analyzes inflation and the natural rate of unemployment in Canada.

International Monetary Fund

The issue of productivity growth in Canada has received considerable attention reflecting its marked slowdown since the early 1970s and concerns about its implications for Canadian competitiveness. To better understand productivity developments in Canada, it is useful to decompose total factor productivity (TFP) into investment-specific productivity change (ISP) and technologically neutral productivity change (TNP). The gap in manufacturing productivity growth between Canada and the United States originates mostly in the strong performance of specific industries, such as electrical products and commercial and industrial machinery.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper reviews empirical evidence on the main determinants of the real bilateral exchange rate between the Canadian and the U.S. dollars, with particular emphasis on the role played by cyclical and longer-term economic factors. The paper aims to identify the nature of the shocks that have contributed to the recent downward trend in the Canadian dollar. The analysis shows that fluctuations in the real bilateral exchange rate can be explained reasonably well by its long-term fundamentals. The paper also analyzes inflation and the natural rate of unemployment in Canada.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper reviews Canada’s business tax system, looking at the incentive effects of the country’s business tax regime and their implications for output and employment. It presents estimates of marginal effective tax rates on corporate-source income in Canada and comparator countries across sectors, asset classes, means of finance, and asset ownership. The paper also examines labor markets in Canada. It notes that unemployment rates in Canada have risen across all demographic groups, industries, and regions, although young and less-educated workers and workers in agriculture and primary industries have been most severely affected.

International Monetary Fund

Canada has enjoyed high growth while adjusting smoothly to commodity price gains, currency appreciation, and, more recently, slowing U.S. demand. Monetary policy has appropriately shifted to guarding against increasing near-term downside risks. A sound fiscal framework policy has produced an enviably strong fiscal position that makes eliminating general government net debt feasible. The budgetary overperformance provides room for tax relief while maintaining small budget surpluses. To foster efficiency, the fiscal room should be used to reduce high marginal effective tax rates on capital, saving, and labor.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
This paper deals with liberalization and the evolution of output during the transition from plan to market. It explains why strong liberalization leads to a comparatively steep fall in output early in the transition, but a relatively strong recovery later on. Because it takes time to restructure the capital stock inherited from the old system, liberalization initially leads to transitional unemployment of capital and the contraction of the old enterprise sector. By making room quickly for the new, more efficient enterprises, however, liberalization also sets the stage for recovery and a much higher level of income in the medium term. [JEL E23, P21, P27, P52]
Mr. Richard Disney
The paper provides a selective survey of methods and findings concerning the impact of tax and welfare policies on employment, unemployment, and economic growth in OECD countries. The paper examines a number of facets of tax and welfare policy and concludes that cross-country macroeconomic studies shed only limited light on the issue. Analyses of household behavior using microeconometric methods are much more fruitful but the question remains of how to aggregate these results to assess the overall impact of policy.
Mr. Stephan Danninger, Ms. Annette J Kyobe, and Mr. M. Cangiano
This paper analyzes interference and timeliness in the revenue-forecasting process, using new data on revenue-forecasting practices in low-income countries. Interference is defined as the occurrence of a significant deviation from purely technical forecasts. A theoretical model explains forecasting interference through government corruption. The data broadly supports the model, and the results are robust to alternative explanations. The paper also constructs three indices-transparency, formality, and organizational simplicity-that characterize revenue-forecasting practices, and assesses their effectiveness in producing an upfront-that is, timely-budget envelope. More transparent and simple forecasting processes lead to early budget constraints, while formality has no measurable effect.
Mrs. Nina T Budina, Mr. Borja Gracia, Xingwei Hu, and Mr. Sergejs Saksonovs
This paper argues that asset price cycles have significant effects on fiscal outcomes. In particular, there is evidence of debt bias—the tendency of debt to increase over the cycle— that is significantly larger for house price cycles than stand-alone business cycles. Automatic stabilizers and discretionary fiscal policy generally respond to output fluctuations, whereas revenue increases due to house price booms are largely treated as permanent. Thus, neglecting the direct and indirect impact of asset prices on fiscal accounts encourages procyclical fiscal policies.
Jean-François Wen, Fatih Yilmaz, and Danea Trejo
The paper provides estimates of the long-run, tax-adjusted, user cost elasticity of capital (UCE) in a small open economy, exploiting three sources of variation in Canadian tax policy: across provinces, industries, and years. Estimates of the UCE with Canadian data are less prone to the endogeneity problems arising from the effects of tax policy changes on the interest rate or on the price of capital equipment. Reductions in the federal corporate income tax rate during the early 2000s for service industries but not for manufacturing, which already benefited from a preferential tax rate, contribute to the identification of the UCE. To capture the long-run relationship between the capital stock and the user cost of capital, an error correction model (ECM) is estimated. Supplementary results are obtained from a distributed lag model in first differences (DLM). With the ECM, our baseline UCE for machinery and equipment (M&E) is -1.312. The corresponding semi-elasticity of the stock of M&E with respect to the METR is about -0.2, suggesting, for example, that a 5 percentage point reduction in the METR, say from 15 to 10 percent, would in the long run generate an increase of 1.0 percent in the stock of M&E. The UCE for non-residential construction is statistically insignificantly different from zero.