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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This paper discusses the economic performance of Denmark. Although Denmark has a longstanding track record of sound economic and social policies, economic performance has been relatively weak for an extended period. The economy continues to grow slowly. After recording 1.3 percent growth in 2014, the economy grew by 1.2 percent in 2015, driven mostly by private consumption on the back of rising employment and real incomes. However, relatively strong performance in the first half of the year was partly undone by flagging exports in the second half of the year. Denmark has consistently run current account surpluses in recent decades, mostly reflecting structurally high retirement savings in the context of its funded pension system.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
This paper empirically investigates the monetary impact of banking crises in Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, and Uruguay during 1975–98. Cointegration analysis and error correction modeling are used to research two issues: (i) whether money demand stability is threatened by banking crises; and (ii) whether crises lead to structural breaks in the relation between monetary indicators and prices. Overall, no systematic evidence that banking crises cause money demand instability is found. The paper also analyzes inflation targeting in the context of the IMF-supported adjustment programs.
Mr. Marc G Quintyn and Sophia Gollwitzer
This paper tests the theoretical framework developed by North, Wallis and Weingast (2009) on the transition from closed to open access societies. They posit that societies need to go through three doorsteps: (i) the establishment of rule of law among elites; (ii) the adoption of perpetually existing organizations; and (iii) the political control of the military. We identify indicators reflecting these doorsteps and graphically test the correlation between them and a set of political and economic variables. Finally, through Identification through Heteroskedasticity we test these relationships econometrically. The paper broadly confirms the logic behind the doorsteps as necessary steps in the transition to open access societies. The doorsteps influence economic and political processes, as well as each other, with varying intensity. We also identify income inequality as a potentially important force leading to social change.
Kodjovi M. Eklou and Mamour Fall
Do discretionary spending cuts and tax increases hurt social well-being? To answer this question, we combine subjective well-being data covering over half a million of individuals across 13 European countries, with macroeconomic data on fiscal consolidations. We find that fiscal consolidations reduce individual well-being in the short run, especially when they are based on spending cuts. In addition, we show that accompanying monetary and exchange rate policies (disinflation, depreciations and the liberalization of capital flows) mitigate the well-being cost of fiscal consolidations. Finally, we investigate the well-being consequences of the two well-knowns expansionary fiscal consolidations episodes taking place in the 80s (in Denmark and Ireland). We find that even expansionary fiscal consolidations can have well-being costs. Our results may therefore shed some light on why some governments may choose to consolidate through taxes even at the cost of economic growth. Indeed, if spending cuts are to generate a large well-being loss, they can trigger an opposition and protest against a fiscal consolidation plan and hence making it politically costly.
Mr. Hyun Park
This paper continues the study of optimal fiscal policy in a growing economy by exploring a case in which the government simultaneously provides three main categories of expenditures with distortionary tax finance: public production services, public consumption services, and state-contingent redistributive transfers. The paper shows that in a general equilibrium model with given exogenous fiscal policy, a nonlinear relation exists between the suboptimal longrun growth rate in a competitive economy and distortionary tax rates. When fiscal policy is endogenously chosen at a social optimum, the relation between the rate of growth and tax rates is always negative. These two conclusions suggest that the interaction between fiscal policy and growth may be complicated enough that it cannot be captured in a simple linear model using an aggregate measure of fiscal policy. The sources of nonlinearity include expectation and coordination of fiscal policy, impluse response of government policies, and the presence of positive externality due to government spending.
Francisco Roldán
Sovereign debt crises coincide with deep recessions. I propose a model of sovereign debt that rationalizes large contractions in economic activity via an aggregate-demand amplification mechanism. The mechanism also sheds new light on the response of consumption to sovereign risk, which I document in the context of the Eurozone crisis. By explicitly separating the decisions of households and the government, I examine the interaction between sovereign risk and precautionary savings. When a default is likely, households anticipate its negative consequences and cut consumption for self-insurance reasons. Such shortages in aggregate spending worsen economic conditions through nominal wage rigidities and boost default incentives, restarting the vicious cycle. I calibrate the model to Spain in the 2000s and find that about half of the output contraction is caused by default risk. More generally, sovereign risk exacerbates volatility in consumption over time and across agents, creating large and unequal welfare costs even if default does not materialize.