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Nina Biljanovska and Alexandros Vardoulakis
We study how financial frictions amplify labor supply shocks in a macroeconomic model with occasionally binding financing constraints. Workers supply labor to entrepreneurs who borrow to purchase factors of production. Borrowing capacity is restricted by the value of capital, generating a pecuniary externality when financing constraints bind. Additionally, there is a distributive externality operating through wages. The planner’s allocation can be decentralized with two instruments: a credit tax/subsidy and a labor tax/subsidy. Labor shocks, such as the COVID-19 shock, amplify the policy responses, which critically depend on whether financing constraints bind or not.
Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, Veronika Penciakova, and Nick Sander
We estimate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on business failures among small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in seventeen countries using a large representative firm-level database. We use a simple model of firm cost-minimization and measure each firm’s liquidity shortfall during and after COVID-19. Our framework allows for a rich combination of sectoral and aggregate supply, productivity, and demand shocks. We estimate a large increase in the failure rate of SMEs under COVID-19 of nearly 9 percentage points, ab-sent government support. Accommodation & Food Services, Arts, Entertainment & Recreation, Education, and Other Services are among the most affected sectors. The jobs at risk due to COVID-19 related SME business failures represent 3.1 percent of private sector employment. Despite the large impact on business failures and employment, we estimate only moderate effects on the financial sector: the share of Non Performing Loans on bank balance sheets would increase by up to 11 percentage points, representing 0.3 percent of banks’ assets and resulting in a 0.75 percentage point decline in the common equity Tier-1 capital ratio. We evaluate the cost and effectiveness of various policy interventions. The fiscal cost of an intervention that narrowly targets at risk firms can be modest (0.54% of GDP). However, at a similar level of effectiveness, non-targeted subsidies can be substantially more expensive (1.82% of GDP). Our results have important implications for the severity of the COVID-19 recession, the design of policies, and the speed of the recovery.
Mr. Peter S. Heller, Mr. Erik Lueth, Mr. Michael W. Bell, and Jennifer Bisping

There is a consensus in the international community that more resources are needed to help low-income countries battle HIV/AIDS. The IMF has welcomed this emerging commitment by donors and is working with recipient countries to make the best possible use of the new resources.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

IMF research summaries on governance of banks (by Luc Laeven) and on whether there is a foreign aid paradox (by Thierry Tressel); country study on Mozambique (by Jean A.P. Clément and Shanaka J. Peiris); listing of visiting scholars at the IMF during July 2007-January 2008; listing of contents of Vol. 54, Issue No. 4 of IMF Staff Papers; listing of recent IMF Working Papers; listing of recent external publications by IMF staff; and a call for papers for the upcoming Conference on International Finance.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

The Slovak auto industry is deeply integrated in regional and global value chains. While this has brought tremendous benefits, it has also made the sector susceptible to foreign shocks as exemplified by the disruptions it experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Going forward, the industry will need to adapt to mega trends such as potential reconfigurations of supply chains and changes in preferences and technology. This paper uses a general equilibrium global trade model to: (i) quantify the impact of the pandemic-induced labor supply shock on the auto industry in Slovakia; (ii) disentangle the spillovers of the COVID-19 shock to the Slovak auto sector through cross-border and domestic production chains; and (iii) shed light on the Slovak auto sector’s exposure to potential changes in the post-COVID global economy, namely higher trade costs with select partners.