Expert lexicographers behind the Oxford Languages’ Word of the Year campaign came to the conclusion that 2020 was not a year that could neatly be expressed in one single word. Rather, 2020 deserved a report aptly named Words of an Unprecedented Year. Economists have also adopted words new to their field, adding the Great Lockdown to the list of the Great Depression and the Great Recession. As the world emerges from the traumas of COVID-19, concerns have grown that a two-track pandemic is leading to a two-track recovery and that many countries will come out of the pandemic with higher sovereign debt and potential scars, making policy choices more difficult.
The articles featured in this issue of the IMF Research Perspectives offer insights on how we can navigate these uncertain and unprecedented times and solve the puzzle of building back better by looking at some questions that have occupied economists long before the pandemic but have since then gained urgency. They focus on understanding the risk of fiscal dominance, getting the most bang for the buck in fiscal policies when interest rates are low, improving sovereign debt instrument design, incorporating mortality dynamics into economic models, and supporting innovative solutions to new challenges through public involvement. After all, sometimes going back to basics is the simplest way to move forward.
IMF RESEARCH perspectives
COVER, DESIGN, AND LAYOUT
IMF CSF Creative Solutions Division
Shirin Nikaein Towfghian
IMF Research Perspectives-the IMF online bulletin with news on research-is a biannual publication in English and is available exclusively on line free of charge.
The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Material from this publication may be reprinted with proper attribution.