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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Sweden entered the pandemic with substantial buffers and suffered a relatively shallow recession in 2020. The decline in output was moderated by substantial income and liquidity support as well as structural features of the economy. Sweden’s initial less stringent containment strategy seems to have altered the timing of the economic fallout, which intensified towards the middle of the year. This fallout has particularly impacted the youth and foreign-born. Economic recovery is projected over the next two years, but uncertainty has increased due to the new strains of the virus and slow vaccination.
Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Mr. James Daniel, Mr. Masahiro Nozaki, Cristian Alonso, Vybhavi Balasundharam, Mr. Matthieu Bellon, Chuling Chen, and David Corvino
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing policymakers worldwide, and the stakes are particularly high for Asia and the Pacific. This paper analyzes how fiscal policy can address challenges from climate change in Asia and the Pacific. It aims to answer how policymakers can best promote mitigation, adaptation, and the transition to a low-carbon economy, emphasizing the economic and social implications of reforms, potential policy trade-offs, and country circumstances. The recommendations are grounded in quantitative analysis using country-specific estimates, and granular household, industry, and firm-level data.
Nicoletta Batini, Mario di Serio, Matteo Fragetta, and Mr. Giovanni Melina
This paper estimates multipliers for spending in clean energy and biodiversity conservation to help inform stimulus measures for a post-COVID-19 sustainable recovery. Using a new international dataset, part of which was especially assembled for this analysis, we find that every dollar spent on key carbon-neutral or carbon-sink activities—from zero-emission power plants to the protection of wildlife and ecosystems—can generate more than a dollar’s worth of economic activity. The estimated multipliers associated with green spending are about 2 to 7 times larger than those associated with non-eco-friendly expenditure, depending on sectors, technologies and horizons. These findings survive several robustness checks and suggest that ‘building back better’ could be a win-win for economies and the planet.
Felix Suntheim
The shutdown in economic activity due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis has resulted in a short-term decline in global carbon emissions, but the long-term impact of the pandemic on the transition to a low-carbon economy is uncertain. Looking at previous episodes of financial and economic stress to draw implications for the current crisis, we find that tighter financial constraints and adverse economic conditions are generally detrimental to firms’ environmental performance, reducing green investments. The COVID-19 crisis could thus potentially slow down the transition to a low-carbon economy. In light of the urgent need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, these findings underline the importance of climate policies and green recovery packages to boost green investment and support the energy transition. Policies that support the sustainable finance sector, such as improved transparency and standardization, could further help mobilize green investments.
Ian Parry
The United States has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050, meet sectoral objectives (e.g., for carbon free power, electric vehicles) and encourage greater mitigation among large emitting countries and of international transportation emissions. Fiscal policies at the national, sectoral, and international level could play a critical role in implementing these objectives, along with investment, regulatory, and technology policies. Fiscal instruments are cost-effective, can enhance political acceptability, and do not worsen, or could help alleviate, budgetary pressures. Domestically, a fiscal policy package could contain a mix of economy-wide carbon pricing and revenue-neutral feebates (i.e., tax-subsidy schemes) with the latter reinforcing mitigation in the transport, power, industrial, building, forestry, and agricultural sectors. Internationally, a carbon price floor among large emitters (with flexibility to implement equivalent measures) could effectively scale up global mitigation, while levies/feebates offer a practical approach for reducing maritime and aviation emissions.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

Abstract

The global economy is climbing out from the depths to which it had plummeted during the Great Lockdown in April. But with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to spread, many countries have slowed reopening and some are reinstating partial lockdowns to protect susceptible populations. While recovery in China has been faster than expected, the global economy’s long ascent back to pre-pandemic levels of activity remains prone to setbacks.