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Erez Aiden, Jean-Baptiste Michel, and Coyle Diane

This chapter discusses the story of European integration in what is known as the European Union. The decision in 1951 by six European nations to pool coal and steel production under a common authority—the European Coal and Steel Community—marked the beginning of European integration. French statesman and political visionary Robert Schuman proposed the coal and steel community in 1950. The chapter also highlights that the 28-member European Union, built around common policies and shared institutions, has proved robust to many challenges and has accommodated great change used by 18 countries. The European Union was also awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. The study shows that the 2008 global financial crisis laid bare fault lines, exposing tensions between EU members and stresses and gaps in institutions and policies that Europe’s political leaders are working hard to address. The IMF’s chief for Europe argues that what Europe needs is more integration, not less.

Eric A. Posner, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Thomas Ramge, and John Tutino

ECONOMICS SAYS THAT bailouts are bad because they beget moral hazard—that is, they shield those involved from risk, which encourages recklessness. Politics seems to agree: the no-more-bailouts sentiment was a driving force behind the 2010 massive US financial reform legislation known as the Dodd-Frank Act. The global financial crisis’s 10th anniverary raises the question of whether we are better poised to deal with future crises. Eric Posner’s response is a resounding no.

International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, and & Review Department
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
It has been two years since the trade tensions erupted and not only captured policymakers’ but also the research community’s attention. Research has quickly zoomed in on understanding trade war rhetoric, tariff implementation, and economic impacts. The first article in the December 2019 issue sheds light on the consequences of the recent trade barriers.
IMF Research Perspective (formerly published as IMF Research Bulletin) is a new, redesigned online newsletter covering updates on IMF research. In the inaugural issue of the newsletter, Hites Ahir interviews Valeria Cerra; and they discuss the economic environment 10 years after the global financial crisis. Research Summaries cover the rise of populism; economic reform; labor and technology; big data; and the relationship between happiness and productivity. Sweta C. Saxena was the guest editor for this inaugural issue.
International Monetary Fund
This paper discusses key findings of the Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes on Data Module for Pakistan. Based on the review of Pakistan’s statistical practices, recommendations are made that are aimed at strengthening Pakistan’s adherence to the internationally accepted practices, as well as at enhancing the usefulness of its monetary statistics. For the central bank’s survey, it is recommended to revalue the State Bank of Pakistan’s Fund positions and gold assets on a monthly basis at end-month market exchange rates and market gold prices.
Sandile Hlatshwayo, Anne Oeking, Mr. Manuk Ghazanchyan, David Corvino, Ananya Shukla, and Mr. Lamin Y Leigh
Corruption is macro-relevant for many countries, but is often hidden, making measurement of it—and its effects—inherently difficult. Existing indicators suffer from several weaknesses, including a lack of time variation due to the sticky nature of perception-based measures, reliance on a limited pool of experts, and an inability to distinguish between corruption and institutional capacity gaps. This paper attempts to address these limitations by leveraging news media coverage of corruption. We contribute to the literature by constructing the first big data, cross-country news flow indices of corruption (NIC) and anti-corruption (anti-NIC) by running country-specific search algorithms over more than 665 million international news articles. These indices correlate well with existing measures of corruption but offer additional richness in their time-series variation. Drawing on theory from the corporate finance and behavioral economics literature, we also test to what extent news about corruption and anti-corruption efforts affects economic agents’ assessments of corruption and, in turn, economic outcomes. We find that NIC shocks appear to negatively impact both financial (e.g., stock market returns and yield spreads) and real variables (e.g., growth), albeit with some country heterogeneity. On average, NIC shocks lower real per capita GDP growth by 3 percentage points over a two-year period, illustrating persistence in the effect of such shocks. Conversely, there is suggestive evidence that anti-NIC efforts appear to have a sustained positive macro impact only when paired with meaningful institutional strengthening, proxied by capacity development efforts.
Mr. Serkan Arslanalp, Mr. Marco Marini, and Ms. Patrizia Tumbarello
Vessel traffic data based on the Automatic Identification System (AIS) is a big data source for nowcasting trade activity in real time. Using Malta as a benchmark, we develop indicators of trade and maritime activity based on AIS-based port calls. We test the quality of these indicators by comparing them with official statistics on trade and maritime statistics. If the challenges associated with port call data are overcome through appropriate filtering techniques, we show that these emerging “big data” on vessel traffic could allow statistical agencies to complement existing data sources on trade and introduce new statistics that are more timely (real time), offering an innovative way to measure trade activity. That, in turn, could facilitate faster detection of turning points in economic activity. The approach could be extended to create a real-time worldwide indicator of global trade activity.