The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The political economy literature has put forward a multitude of hypotheses regarding the drivers of structural reforms, but few, if any, empirically robust findings have emerged thus far. To make progress, we draw a parallel with model uncertainty in the growth literature and provide a new version of the Bayesian averaging of maximum likelihood estimates (BAMLE) technique tailored to binary logit models. Relying on a new database of major past labor and product market reforms in advanced countries, we test a large set of variables for robust correlation with reform in each area. We find widespread support for the crisis-induces-reform hypothesis. Outside pressure increases the likelihood of reform in certain areas: reforms are more likely when other countries also undertake them and when there is formal pressure to implement them. Other robust correlates are more specific to certain areas-for example, international pressure and political factors are most relevant for product market and job protection reforms, respectively.