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Mr. Robert P Flood

The paper discusses a model in which growth is a negative function of fiscal burden. Moreover, growth discontinuously switches from high to low as the fiscal burden reaches a critical level. The paper provides an overview of key elements of corporate bankruptcy codes and practice around the world that are relevant to the debate on sovereign debt restructuring. It also describes the broad trends in international financial integration for a sample of industrial countries and explains the cross-country and time-series variation in the size of international balance sheets.

Mr. John Cady

Does macroeconomic data transparency—as signaled by subscription to the IMF's Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS)—help reduce borrowing costs in international capital markets? This question is examined using data on new issues of sovereign foreign-currency-denominated (U.S. dollar, yen, and euro) bonds for several emerging market economies. Panel econometric estimates indicate that spreads on new bond issues declined on average by close to 20 percent, or by an average of about 55 basis points for sample countries, following SDDS subscription.

Ms. Rachel Glennerster and Yongseok Shin

This paper studies whether transparency (measured by accuracy and frequency of macroeconomic information released to the public) leads to lower borrowing costs in sovereign bond markets. We analyze the data generated during 1999–2002 when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) instituted new ways for countries to increase their transparency—by publishing the IMF’s assessment of their policies and committing to release more accurate data more frequently. The IMF’s preexisting internal timetable for country reports introduced exogenous variation when countries were faced with the option to become more transparent. We exploit this time variation and construct instruments to estimate the impact of transparency on bond yields in a way that is free from endogeneity bias. We find that countries experience a statistically significant decline in borrowing costs (11 percent reduction in credit spreads on average) when they choose to become more transparent. The magnitude of the decline is inversely related to the initial level of transparency and the size of the debt market. IMF Staff Papers (2007) 55, 183–209. doi:10.1057/palgrave.imfsp.9450028; published online 22 January 2008

JOHN CADY and JESUS GONZALEZ-GARCIA

The effects of the adoption of the IMF’s International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity Data Template on exchange rate volatility are investigated for 48 countries using panel data models and quarterly data from 1991 to 2005. In a model featuring significant relationships between nominal exchange rate volatility and fundamental macroeconomic variables, we find that the adoption of the reserves data dissemination standard is associated with a 20 percent decrease in volatility. Furthermore, adoption of the standard is also associated with changes in the relationships between exchange rate volatility and both indebtedness and reserve adequacy indicators. IMF Staff Papers (2007) 54, 741–754. doi:10.1057/palgrave.imfsp.9450025

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
This paper focuses on official intervention on the forward exchange market. The purpose is to provide a straightforward account of the theory of intervention and to use it to discuss the problems raised. The forward exchange market may be conveniently treated in terms of stocks rather than of flows; that is, the forward exchange rate is taken as reconciling the desires of market participants with respect to the holding—rather than the changing—of forward exchange positions. Official intervention in the forward exchange market can be analysed by regarding the authorities either as part of the market or as distinct from it. Official swap transactions are frequently undertaken not on the open market but by direct arrangement with foreign monetary authorities or with commercial banks. The substantial rise to be expected in the forward premium would, of course, have an adverse effect on the foreign balance, which might be unwelcome from a cyclical standpoint though it would probably merely involve a diminution in the improvement that would otherwise have occurred as a result of the recession.
VITO TANZI

The sensitivity (i.e., elasticity and built-in flexibility) of the U. S. individual income tax to changes in national income is of great interest to researchers and policymakers. However, the direct measurement of this sensitivity—that is, the measurement obtained from time-series observations of the relevant variables—has always been difficult, and even at times impossible, because changes in the legal structure of the tax have been too frequent to provide enough observations that relate to the same legal structure to allow statistically significant coefficients to be determined. This was particularly true in the United States before 1954, when the rates were changed frequently; it has also been true since 1963, when important changes occurred in rates, personal exemptions, deductions, and other features. In contrast, during the period between 1954 and 1963, hardly any significant statutory changes occurred in the tax.