For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.
Mr. Stijn Claessens, M. Ayhan Kose, and Marco E. Terrones
Latin America: An End to Boom and Bust? covers prospects in that region, which has managed to sustain a decade of prosperity after a history of boom and bust cycles. In our cover story, Nicolás Eyzaguirre, Director of the IMF's Western Hemisphere Department, says Latin America has the potential to become an increasingly important global player. But boosting productivity and competitiveness remain key policy challenges and the fruits of success must be more broadly shared. Other articles on our cover theme look at the prospects for Brazil, inequality in Latin America, and how to raise productivity. Turning from Latin America, we interview former IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus, former IMF MD and now head of a group of luminaries tasked with generating ideas on how to make the global monetary system more stable in the wake of the world financial crisis. This issue of F&D also features articles on financial market cycles, public investment in infrastructure, whether to worry about inflation or deflation, democracy and liberalization, how to manage health care spending, and rising food prices. People in Economics profiles growth guru Robert Solow, winner of the 1987 Nobel Prize in economics. Our regular Back to Basics feature explains financial services. Data Spotlight looks at how access to financial services is growing in developing countries; and Picture This highlights the IMF's new database of public debt since 1880.
New Q&A feature in this issue focuses on "Seven Questions about Recessions" (by Marco Terrones); IMF research summaries on financial stress (by Selim Elekdag) and on the real effects of the 2007–08 financial crisis (by Hui Tong); listing of visiting scholars at the IMF during April–June 2009; listing of recent IMF Working Papers; listing of contents of Vol. 56 No. 2 of IMF Staff Papers; listing of recent external publications by IMF staff; and a feature on Staff Position Notes, the IMF’s new policy paper series, including a list of recent papers.
This issue of the IMF Research Bulletin opens with a letter from the new editor, Rabah Arezki. The Research Summaries are a "Primer on 'Global Liquidity'" (Eugenio Cerutti, Stijn Claessens, and Lev Ratnovski); and "Trade Integration adn Business Cycle Synchronization" (Kevin Cheng, Romain Duval, and Dulani Senevirante). The Q&A column looks at "Seven Questions on the Global Housing Markets" (Hites Ahir, Heedon Kang, and Prakash Loungani). September 2014 issue of the Bulletin also includes updates on IMF Working Papers, Staff Discussion Notes, and Recommended Readings from the IMF Bookstore, as well as special announcements on new staff publications and the Fifteenth Annual Jacques Polak Research Conference. Also included is information on the latest issue of “IMF Economic Review” with a link to an article by Paul Krugman.
This paper analyzes the duration of house price upturns and downturns in the last 40 years for 19 OECD countries. I provide two sets of results, one pertaining to the average length and the other to the length distribution. On average, upturns are longer than downturns, but the difference disappears once the last house price boom is excluded. In terms of length distribution, upturns (but not downturns) are more likely to end as their duration increases. This duration dependence is consistent with a boom-bust view of house price dynamics, where booms represent departures from fundamentals that are increasingly difficult to sustain.
The link between monetary policy and asset price movements has been of perennial interest to policymakers. In this paper, we consider the potential case for preemptive monetary restrictions when asset price reversals can have serious effects on real output. First, we present some stylized facts on boom-bust dynamics in stock and property prices in developed economies. We then discuss the case for a preemptive monetary policy in the context of a stylized model. We find that the optimal policy depends on the economic conditions in a complex, nonlinear way and cannot be summarized by a simple policy rule of the type considered in the inflation-targeting literature.
Mr. Marco Terrones, Mr. Ayhan Kose, and Mr. Stijn Claessens
This paper analyzes the interactions between business and financial cycles using an extensive database of over 200 business and 700 financial cycles in 44 countries for the period 1960:1-2007:4. Our results suggest that there are strong linkages between different phases of business and financial cycles. In particular, recessions associated with financial disruption episodes, notably house price busts, tend to be longer and deeper than other recessions. Conversely, recoveries associated with rapid growth in credit and house prices tend to be stronger. These findings emphasize the importance of developments in credit and housing markets for the real economy.
Samya Beidas-Strom, Weicheng Lian, and Ashwaq Maseeh
This paper examines housing finance and housing price dynamics in selected emerging Middle Eastern economies over the past two decades. It finds that (i) mortgage markets have experienced rapid development, which has led to lower private per capita consumer spending volatility this decade; (ii) a downward price correction occurred in the housing market after 2007, which appears to have bottomed out; (iii) the rental market appears to be largely determined by region-specific economic fundamentals-a youthful working-age population and wealth variables; and (iv) a segregation between self-owned house and rental price dynamics exists in this region, rendering the former more sensitive to the business cycle.
Hedonic regressions are used for property price index measurement to control for changes in the quality-mix of properties transacted. The paper consolidates the hedonic time dummy approach, characteristics approach, and imputation approaches. A practical hedonic methodology is proposed that (i) is weighted at a basic level; (ii) has a new (quasi-) superlative form and thus mitigates substitution bias; (iii) is suitable for sparse data in thin markets; and (iv) only requires the periodic estimation of hedonic regressions for reference periods and is not subject to the vagrancies of misspecification and estimation issues.