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J. J. Polak and T. C. Chang

ONE OF THE main purposes of exchange depreciation in industrial countries is to lower export prices in order to increase the volume of exports. The question is to what extent and under what conditions exchange depreciation will achieve this objective.

International Monetary Fund
This 2002 Article IV Consultation highlights that the economy of Japan rebounded strongly in the first quarter of 2002. Global recovery underpinned a large net export contribution, while special transitory factors—including unseasonably warm weather and anomalies in the small single-family spending survey—boosted household spending. Earlier fiscal stimulus measures boosted public demand, but business and residential investment continued to slump. Even with the strong growth in the first quarter of 2002, real GDP is nevertheless expected to decline by about ½ percent on an annual-average basis for 2002 as a whole.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
This paper focuses on the payments system reforms and monetary policy in emerging market economies in Central and Eastern Europe. The reforms in the payments system are viewed as closely interrelated with the development of money and foreign exchange markets and the instruments of monetary policy used by the central banks. The paper shows that although starting from similar origins, there were significant variations in experiences of the countries studied in transforming their payments systems after the start of the reforms toward a market economy, from which certain lessons can be drawn.
Mr. Francis Vitek
This paper analyzes the transmission of shocks and policies among and across the Nordic economies and the rest of the world. This spillover analysis is based on a pair of estimated structural macroeconometric models of the world economy, disaggregated into thirty five national economies. We find that the Nordic economies are heavily exposed to external macroeconomic and financial shocks, but have significant scope to mitigate their domestic macroeconomic impacts through coordinated policy responses, given their high degree of regional integration.
Mr. Lars E. O. Svensson
The trade-off between interest rate variability and the width of an exchange rate target zone is examined, using the regulated Brownian motion model of target zones. The interest rate differential’s asymptotic (unconditional) variability is increasing in the exchange rate band for narrow bands; whereas it is slowly decreasing for wide bands. The interest rate differential’s instantaneous (conditional) variability is decreasing in the exchange rate band. The model is extended to include a realignment/devaluation risk, as well as an endogenous exchange rate risk premium. The risk premium is small for reasonable parameter values.
International Monetary Fund
Under the assumption of no arbitrage exchange rate target zone credibility is tested by whether domestic interest rates fall within “rate-of-return bands” between the maximum and minimum home-currency rate of return on a foreign investment absent a devaluation. Under the assumption of uncovered interest rate parity credibility is tested by whether expected future exchange rates fall within the exchange rate band. These tests are applied on data about the Swedish target zone during January 1987-August 1990.
Mr. Piti Disyatat
This paper addresses the important question of how far a government will run down its stock of foreign reserves in a defense of a fixed exchange rate. An optimizing model of currency crisis is presented in which the decision of whether or not to borrow in a defense of a peg is explicitly analyzed. The threshold level of reserves is then determined endogenously and shown to be a function of fundamental economic variables. The analysis also demonstrates how an increase in the level of reserves, a credit-rating upgrade, or the imposition of capital controls can remove the multiplicity of equilibria.
Mr. Peter S. Heller and Mr. David Hauner
A number of uncertainties about long-term expenditure commitments in industrial countries are examined: (i) the assumptions underlying the projections, (ii) the potential to further reduce non-age-related expenditures, (iii) the implicitly assumed absence of "shocks," and (iv) the potential for raising revenue. This paper concludes that (i) there is scope, but within narrow limits, to reduce non-age-related expenditures; (ii) fiscal policy frameworks tend to understate risks; and (iii) prevailing tax rates leave little room for increasing taxation in the countries facing the strongest aging pressures. In sum, governments will have to adopt a much more ambitious fiscal policy stance to cope with aging populations.
Mr. Luc Laeven
Capital markets can improve risk sharing and the efficiency with which capital is allocated to the real economy, boosting economic growth and welfare. However, despite these potential benefits, not all countries have well developed capital markets. Moreover, government-led initiatives to develop local capital markets have had mixed success. This paper reviews the literature on the benefits and costs of developing local capital markets, and describes the challenges faced in the development of such markets. The paper concludes with a set of policy recommendations emerging from this literature.
Sophia Chen and Do Lee
We provide broad-based evidence of a firm size premium of total factor productivity (TFP) growth in Europe after the Global Financial Crisis. The TFP growth of smaller firms was more adversely affected and diverged from their larger counterparts after the crisis. The impact was progressively larger for medium, small, and micro firms relative to large firms. It was also disproportionally larger for firms with limited credit market access. Moreover, smaller firms were less likely to have access to safer banks: those that were better capitalized banks and with a presence in the credit default swap market. Horseraces suggest that firm size may be a more important and robust vulnerability indicator than balance sheet characteristics. Our results imply that the tightening of credit market conditions during the crisis, coupled with limited credit market access especially among micro, small, and medium firms, may have contributed to the large and persistent drop in aggregate TFP.