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LUC LERUTH, REMI PARIS, and IVAN RUZICKA

This paper examines the role and impact of taxation on sustainable forest management. It is shown that fiscal instruments neither reinforce nor substitute for traditional regulatory approaches and can actually undermine sustainability. The paper uses the reasoning at the root of the Faustmann solution to draw conclusions on the incentives for sustainable tropical forest exploitation. It proposes a bond mechanism as an alternative market-based instrument to encourage sustainable forest logging while reducing monitoring costs.

Mr. Luc E. Leruth, R. Paris, and Mr. I. Ruzicka
This paper examines the role and impact of taxation on sustainable forest management. It is shown that fiscal instruments neither reinforce nor substitute for traditional regulatory approaches. Far from encouraging more sustainable forest management, fiscal instruments such as an inappropriate tax policy can actually undermine it. The paper uses the arguments at the root of the Faustmann solution to draw conclusions on the incentives for sustainable tropical forest exploitation. The paper also proposes a bond mechanism as an alternative market-based instrument to encourage sustainable forest logging while reducing monitoring costs.
Mr. Luis Catão and Mr. Robin Brooks
This paper revisits the relative importance of global versus country-specific factors underlying stock returns. It constructs a new firm level data set covering emerging and developed markets and estimates a simple factor model, which breaks down stock returns into a global business cycle factor, global industry factors, country-specific factors and firm-level effects. The results indicate that the share of variation in stock returns explained by global industry factors has grown sharply since the mid-1990s, at the expense of country-specific factors. Foremost among the global factors is a “new economy” factor, which has become a key determinant of global stock returns.
Mr. Alberto Chong and Ms. Luisa Zanforlin
Evidence from historical and epidemiological literatures show that epidemics tend to spread in the population according to a logistic pattern. We conjecture that the impact of new technologies on output follows a pattern of spread not unlike that of typical epidemics. After reaching a critical mass, rates of growth will accelerate until the marginal benefits of technology are fully utilized. We estimate spline functions using a GMM dynamic panel methodology for 79 countries. We use imports of machinery and equipment as a fraction of gross domestic product as a proxy for the process of technological adoption. Results confirm our hypothesis.
Chikako Baba, Cristina Batog, Enrique Flores, Mr. Borja Gracia, Ms. Izabela Karpowicz, Piotr Kopyrski, Mr. James Roaf, Ms. Anna Shabunina, and Xin Cindy Xu
Europe’s high pre-existing level of financial development can partly account for the relatively smaller reach of fintech payment and lending activities compared to some other regions. But fintech activity is growing rapidly. Digital payment schemes are expanding within countries, although cross-border and pan-euro area instruments are not yet widespread, notwithstanding important enabling EU level regulation and the establishment of instant payments by the ECB. Automated lending models are developing but remain limited mainly to unsecured consumer lending. While start-ups are pursuing platform-based approaches under minimal regulation, there is a clear trend for fintech companies to acquire balance sheets and, relatedly, banking licenses as they expand. Meanwhile, competition is pushing many traditional banks to adopt fintech instruments, either in-house or by acquisition, thereby causing them to increasingly resemble balanced sheet-based fintech companies. These developments could improve the efficiency and reach of financial intermediation while also adding to profitability pressures for some banks. Although the COVID-19 pandemic could call into question the viability of platform-based lending fintechs funding models given that investors could face much higher delinquencies, it may also offer growth opportunities to those fintechs that are positioned to take advantage of the ongoing structural shift in demand toward virtual finance.
Sophia Chen
I study whether firms' reliance on intangible assets is an important determinant of financing constraints. I construct new measures of firm-level physical and intangible assets using accounting information on U.S. public firms. I find that firms with a higher share of intangible assets in total assets start smaller, grow faster, and have higher Tobin’s q. Asset tangibility predicts firm dynamics and Tobin’s q up to 30 years but has diminishing predicative power. I develop a model of endogenous financial constraints in which firm size and value are limited by the enforceability of financial contracts. Asset tangibility matters because physical and intangible assets differ in their residual value when the contract is repudiated. This mechanism is qualitatively important to explain stylized facts of firm dynamics and Tobin’s q.
Mr. Martin D. Cerisola and Mr. Jorge A Chan-Lau
This paper assesses productivity trends in Canada vis-a-vis the United States from two perspectives. The first one is based on estimates of total factor productivity. The second one decomposes productivity growth into two sources: investment-specific technical change, associated with improvements in the quality of the capital stock, and neutral technical change, associated with the organization of productive activities. The results indicate that investment-specific technical change is the major underlying cause of the pickup in productivity in Canada and the narrowing of the productivity gap with the United States.
Mr. Harm Zebregs
This paper reviews the theoretical literature on the question of how long-term international capital movements depend on the international distribution of technology. It focuses on long-term investment flows, as these are more affected by international differences in technologies than short-term financial flows. International capital movements are investigated in the context of various technology specifications, ranging from models with only one common technology to those with multiple and endogenous technologies. The paper demonstrates that the theoretical specification of technology is crucial to the prediction of the size and direction of international capital movements.
Mr. Dong He, Mr. Ross B Leckow, Mr. Vikram Haksar, Mr. Tommaso Mancini Griffoli, Nigel Jenkinson, Ms. Mikari Kashima, Mr. Tanai Khiaonarong, Ms. Celine Rochon, and Hervé Tourpe
A new wave of technological innovations, often called “fintech,” is accelerating change in the financial sector. What impact might fintech have on financial services, and how should regulation respond? This paper sets out an economic framework for thinking through the channels by which fintech might provide solutions that respond to consumer needs for trust, security, privacy, and better services, change the competitive landscape, and affect regulation. It combines a broad discussion of trends across financial services with a focus on cross-border payments and especially the impact of distributed ledger technology. Overall, the paper finds that boundaries among different types of service providers are blurring; barriers to entry are changing; and improvements in cross-border payments are likely. It argues that regulatory authorities need to balance carefully efficiency and stability trade-offs in the face of rapid changes, and ensure that trust is maintained in an evolving financial system. It also highlights the importance of international cooperation.
Mr. Dong He, Mr. Ross B Leckow, Mr. Vikram Haksar, Mr. Tommaso Mancini Griffoli, Nigel Jenkinson, Ms. Mikari Kashima, Mr. Tanai Khiaonarong, Ms. Celine Rochon, and Hervé Tourpe
A new wave of technological innovations, often called “fintech,” is accelerating change in the financial sector. What impact might fintech have on financial services, and how should regulation respond? This paper sets out an economic framework for thinking through the channels by which fintech might provide solutions that respond to consumer needs for trust, security, privacy, and better services, change the competitive landscape, and affect regulation. It combines a broad discussion of trends across financial services with a focus on cross-border payments and especially the impact of distributed ledger technology. Overall, the paper finds that boundaries among different types of service providers are blurring; barriers to entry are changing; and improvements in cross-border payments are likely. It argues that regulatory authorities need to balance carefully efficiency and stability trade-offs in the face of rapid changes, and ensure that trust is maintained in an evolving financial system. It also highlights the importance of international cooperation.