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Sheila Meehan

With market behavior increasingly influencing the world economy, the IMF is seeking to enhance its understanding of the ways in which market decisions shape global financial flows and affect the policies and performance of national economies. Few have a stronger grasp of what the IMF should know about the markets than former IMF staff members who now head economic analysis units for leading investment banks and hedge funds.

Mohsin S. Khan and and Mr. Abbas Mirakhor

This paper examines the trade and pricing policies in world agriculture. In the United States, the government pays farmers not to grow cereals and in the European Community, farmers are paid to grow more. Many have raised nominal producer prices but followed macroeconomic and exchange rate policies that left real producer prices unchanged or lower than before. Many have set up complex systems of producer taxation, and then established equally complex and frequently ineffectual systems of subsidies for inputs to offset that taxation.

Burton David

The IMF Executive Board on March 22 completed the second review of Argentina’s performance under a three-year $13.3 billion loan, paving the way for a disbursement of about $3.1 billion. In completing the review, the Executive Board approved the modification of a structural performance criterion and a waiver for the nonobservance of a performance criterion. Below are excerpts of a statement made by Anne Krueger, Acting Managing Director and Chair, after the Executive Board’s discussion.

Mr. Damien Capelle
This paper develops a model where large financial intermediaries subject to systemic runs internalize the effect of their leverage on aggregate risk, returns and asset prices. Near the steady-state, they restrict leverage to avoid the risk of a run which gives rise to an accelerator effect. For large adverse shocks, the system enters a zone with high leverage and possibly runs. The length of time the system remains in this zone depends on the degree of concentration through a franchise value, price-drop and recapitalization channels. The speed of entry of new banks after a collapse has a stabilizing effect.
James L. Rowe and Carmen M. Reinhart

This paper highlights that one of the most dramatic developments in the 20th century was the entry of women into economic and political spheres previously occupied almost exclusively by men. Although women are making progress in eliminating gender disparities, they still lag men in the workplace and in the halls of government. These gaps are found throughout the world, but are particularly pronounced in developing economies. So far, the greatest success has been in reducing education and health disparities and the least in increasing women’s economic and political influence.

İnci Ötker-Robe and Ceyla Pazarbasioglu

This issue of F&D looks at the growing role of emerging markets. Analysis by the IMF's Ayhan Kose and Eswar Prasad, professor of trade policy at Cornell University, argues that their economic ascendance will enable emerging markets such as Brazil, China, India, and Russia to play a more significant part in global economic governance and take on more responsibility for economic and financial stability. And Vivek Arora and Athanasios Vamvakidis measure how China's economy is increasingly affecting the rest of the world not just its neighbors and main trading partners. In addition, F&D examines a variety of topics that are particularly relevant as the world struggles to shake off the crisis. Alan Blinder and Mark Zandi look at the positive effects of stimulus in the United States. Without it, they say, the United States would still be in recession. IMF researchers look at how countries can get debt under control, and what happens when government debt is downgraded. Other articles examine the human costs of unemployment, how inequality can lead over time to financial crisis, and what changes in the way banks do business could mean for the financial system. Two articles look at Islamic banking, which was put to the test during the global crisis and proved its mettle, and in Faces of the Crisis Revisited, we continue to track how the recession affected several individuals around the world. This issue of F&D profiles Princeton economic theorist Avinash Dixit in the regular People in Economics feature, and Back to Basics looks at externalities.

Warrick Smith and Mary Hallward-Driemeier

This paper highlights that the current round of trade talks under the auspices of the World Trade Organization aims at better integrating developing countries—especially the small and poor ones—into the global trading system. For that reason, it was named the Doha Development Agenda when it was launched in late 2001. However, more than three years on, little progress has been made. It took a late July 2004 accord outlining “negotiating frameworks” in agriculture and industrial products just to keep the talks afloat.

International Monetary Fund

The size of the U.S. economy and, in particular, the global dominance of its financial markets creates uniquely large policy spillovers. Concerns that the end of QE2 could lead to a rapid reversal of emerging market capital flows appear overblown. A credible plan for a gradual U.S. fiscal consolidation would likely have limited short-term spillovers and substantial longer-term benefits. Overall, U.S. and foreign goals appear better aligned for U.S. fiscal and financial policies than for monetary policies. Fiscal consolidation and sounder financial regulation will help.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper examines the role of information and communication technology (ICT) in the recent acceleration of labor productivity growth in the United States. The analysis reveals that the increase of total factor productivity (TFP) growth is a broad phenomenon that encompasses non-ICT producing sectors, consistent with the view that ICT is a “general purpose technology.” The paper investigates whether the productivity boom may have dampened employment in recent years. It also assesses the contribution of immigrants to the United State economy.