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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

The October 2019 Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR) identifies the current key vulnerabilities in the global financial system as the rise in corporate debt burdens, increasing holdings of riskier and more illiquid assets by institutional investors, and growing reliance on external borrowing by emerging and frontier market economies. The report proposes that policymakers mitigate these risks through stricter supervisory and macroprudential oversight of firms, strengthened oversight and disclosure for institutional investors, and the implementation of prudent sovereign debt management practices and frameworks for emerging and frontier market economies.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

How can the development community advance the use of ethical thinking in the cause of economic and social progress? Opening the Ethics and Development Day conference held at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on January 16, Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics Amartya Sen proposed a more active, participatory role for citizens in applying ethics to further sustainable development.

Eric Monnet and Mr. Damien Puy
Why did monetary authorities hold large gold reserves under Bretton Woods (1944–1971) when only the US had to? We argue that gold holdings were driven by institutional memory and persistent habits of central bankers. Countries continued to back currency in circulation with gold reserves, following rules of the pre-WWII gold standard. The longer an institution spent in the gold standard (and the older the policymakers), the stronger the correlation between gold reserves and currency. Since dollars and gold were not perfect substitutes, the Bretton Woods system never worked as expected. Even after radical institutional change, history still shapes the decisions of policymakers.
Miss Roxana Mihet
This paper investigates the effects of national culture on firm risk-taking, using a comprehensive dataset covering 50,000 firms in 400 industries in 51 countries. Risk-taking is found to be higher for domestic firms in countries with low uncertainty aversion, low tolerance for hierarchical relationships, and high individualism. Domestic firms in such countries tend to take substantially more risk in industries which are more informationally opaque (e.g. finance, mining, IT). Risk-taking by foreign firms is best explained by the cultural norms of their country of origin. These cultural norms do not proxy for legal constraints, insurance safety nets, or economic development.
Mr. Ashraf Khan
This paper describes how behavioral elements are relevant to financial supervision, regulation, and central banking. It focuses on (1) behavioral effects of norms (social, legal, and market); (2) behavior of others (internalization, identification, and compliance); and (3) psychological biases. It stresses that financial supervisors, regulators, and central banks have not yet realized the full potential that these behavioral elements hold. To do so, they need to devise a behavioral approach that includes aspects relating to individual and group behavior. The paper provides case examples of experiments with such an approach, including behavioral supervision. Finally, it highlights areas for further research.