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IMF Working Papers  
   Full-text available via subscription Subscription journal
   ISSN (Print) 1018-5941
   Published by International Monetary Fund Homepage  [11 journals]
  • Output Gap Uncertainty and Real-Time Monetary Policy
    • Abstract: Output gap estimates are subject to a wide range of uncertainty owing to data revisions and the difficulty in distinguishing between cycle and trend in real time. This is important given the central role in monetary policy of assessments of economic activity relative to capacity. We show that country desks tend to overestimate economic slack, especially during recessions, and that uncertainty in initial output gap estimates persists several years. Only a small share of output gap revisions is predictable ex ante based on characteristics like output dynamics, data quality, and policy frameworks. We also show that for a group of Latin American inflation targeters the prescriptions from typical monetary policy rules are subject to large changes due to output gap revisions. These revisions explain a sizable proportion of the deviation of inflation from target, suggesting this information is not accounted for in real-time policy decisions.
      PubDate: 23 Jan 2015 09:00:00 EST
  • The Effects of U.S. Unconventional Monetary Policy on Asia Frontier
           Developing Economies
    • Abstract: This paper explores the effect of U.S. unconventional monetary policy (QE2) on a group of frontier developing economies (FDEs) in Asia. This paper finds that spillovers emanating from the U.S. on FDEs in Asia have been small. The relative insulation of emerging Asia from the global financial cycle can likely be attributed to the presence of managed capital accounts coupled with shallow financial markets. Should U.S. monetary policy begin to normalize the direct first-round impact on developing Asia is likely to be small.
      PubDate: 23 Jan 2015 09:00:00 EST
  • Fiscal Policy Implications for Labor Market Outcomes in Middle-Income
    • Abstract: Many governments have initiated public employment programs or expanded the existing ones in response to high unemployment. However, in many middle-income countries, a relatively large government coexists with persistently high unemployment. This paper explores the question of whether public employment gives rise to distortions in the labor market in the medium to long-run. Our findings do not provide any evidence that public employment reduces unemployment rate. The analysis in this paper shows that large public employment does significantly affect labor market outcomes in middle-income countries and leads to job destruction in the private sector. The extent of the impact is largely influenced by the degree of substitutability between public and private production and the size of the rents in the public sector.
      PubDate: 23 Jan 2015 09:00:00 EST
  • Learning, Monetary Policy and Asset Prices
    • Abstract: We explore the stability properties of interest rate rules granting an explicit response to stock prices in a New-Keynesian DSGE model populated by Blanchard-Yaari non-Ricardian households. The constant turnover between long-time stock holders and asset-poor newcomers generates a financial wealth channel where the wedge between current and expected future aggregate consumption is affected by the market value of financial wealth, making stock prices non-redundant for the business cycle. We find that if the financial wealth channel is sufficiently strong, responding to stock prices enlarges the policy space for which the rational expectations equilibrium is both determinate and learnable (in the E-stability sense of Evans and Honkapohja, 2001). In particular, the Taylor principle ceases to be necessary and also mildly passive policy responses to inflation lead to determinacy and E-stability. Our results appear to be more prominent in economies characterized by a lower elasticity of substitution across differentiated products and/or more rigid labor markets.
      PubDate: 23 Jan 2015 09:00:00 EST
  • Does Supply or Demand Drive the Credit Cycle? Evidence from Central,
           Eastern, and Southeastern Europe
    • Abstract: Countries in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe (CESEE) experienced a credit boom-bust cycle in the last decade. This paper analyzes the roles of demand and supply factors in explaining this credit cycle. Our analysis first focuses on a large sample of bank-level data on credit growth for the entire CESEE region. We complement this analysis by five case studies (Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, and Romania). Our results of the panel data analysis indicate that supply factors, on average and relative to demand factors, gained in importance in explaining credit growth in the post-crisis period. In the case studies, we find a similar result for Lithuania and Montenegro, but the other three case studies point to the fact that country experiences were heterogeneous.
      PubDate: 23 Jan 2015 09:00:00 EST
  • Corporate Financing Trends and Balance Sheet Risks in Latin America
    • Abstract: Easy global liquidity conditions, stronger risk appetite and a retrenchment in cross-border bank lending led to a surge in emerging market firms’ bond issuance in international markets (what we term “The Bon(d)anza”). Using firm-level data for five large Latin American economies, we provide evidence of a significant change in companies’ external funding strategies and liability structures after 2010, as well as in the balance sheet risks that firms face. We find that stepped up bond issuance was mostly aimed at re-financing rather than funding investment projects, as firms extended the average duration of their debt while securing lower fixed-rates, reducing roll-over and interest rate risks. The shift towards safer maturity structures has come at the expense of a leveraging-up in foreign-currency-denominated financial debt in several countries— reversing a de-dollarization trend seen during the last decade. We also provide evidence that a substantial part of these bonds were issued through offshore vehicles, suggesting regulatory and tax arbitrage strategies. For some corporations, rising dollar debt and high leverage will be particularly taxing in an environment of US dollar strengthening, less buoyant commodity prices and slowing domestic activity.
      PubDate: 22 Jan 2015 09:00:00 EST
  • Fiscal Transparency and the Performance of Government Financial Assets
    • Abstract: Stock-flow adjustments are typically measured as the difference between changes in gross debt and deficits. These are interpreted as a proxy for unexplained fiscal discrepancies, and often associated with a lack of fiscal transparency. However, such measures fail to capture the role of financial assets and valuation changes and therefore do not correctly predict fiscal transparency. The purpose of this paper is to provide a more detailed exposition of stock-flow residuals and the relationship with fiscal transparency, highlighting government acquisition of equities and investment fund shares and their performance in secondary markets. The results suggest that the performance of government equity portfolios correlates with fiscal transparency to the extent that fully transparent governments are expected to generate between 6 and 8 percent higher returns on their equity portfolios than others. These findings suggest that the performance of government assets may be a promising area for future research of fiscal transparency and stock-flow residuals.
      PubDate: 22 Jan 2015 09:00:00 EST
  • Credit Booms and Macroeconomic Dynamics: Stylized Facts and Lessons for
           Low-Income Countries
    • Abstract: Using a comprehensive database on bank credit, covering 135 developing countries over the period 1960–2011, we identify, document, and compare the macro-economic dynamics of credit booms across low- and middle-income countries. The results suggest that while the duration and magnitude of credit booms is similar across country groups, macro-economic dynamics differ somewhat in low-income countries. We further find that surges in capital inflows are associated with credit booms. Moreover, credit booms associated with banking crises exhibit distinct macroeconomic dynamics, while also reflecting a potentially large deviation of credit from country fundamentals. These results suggest that low-income countries should remain mindful of the inter-linkages between financial liberalization, increased cross-border banking activities, and rapid credit growth.
      PubDate: 22 Jan 2015 09:00:00 EST
  • Governments’ Payment Discipline: The Macroeconomic Impact of Public
           Payment Delays and Arrears
    • Abstract: This paper considers the impact of changes in the payment discipline of governments on the private sector. We argue that increased delays in public payments can affect private sector liquidity and profits and hence ultimately economic growth. We test this prediction empirically for European Union countries using two complementary approaches. First, we use annual panel data, including a newly constructed proxy for government arrears. We find that payment delays and to some extent estimated arrears lead to a higher likelihood of bankruptcy, lower profits, and lower economic growth. However, while this approach allows a broad set of variables to be included, it restricts the number of time periods. We therefore complement it with a Bayesian VAR approach on quarterly data for selected countries faced with significant payment delays. We again find that the likelihood of bankruptcies rises when governments increase the average payment period.
      PubDate: 22 Jan 2015 09:00:00 EST
  • Revisiting the Concept of Dollarization: The Global Financial Crisis and
           Dollarization in Low-Income Countries
    • Abstract: The economic literature has examined deposit dollarization in nominal terms, typically focusing on the ratio of foreign currency deposits to broad money. However, while private agent demand for foreign currency may remain unchanged in foreign currency terms, there could be large fluctuations in the dollarization ratio simply due to exchange rate movements. This paper proposes a new approach to measuring dollarization that removes these exchange rate effects, and demonstrates that beyond the variance of inflation and depreciation, the level of inflation and size of depreciation also matter for dollarization. While dollarization in nominal terms surged during the recent global financial crisis, there was a downward trend in real terms. Employing a set of econometric estimators, this paper investigates whether “real” dollarization during 2006–09 was associated with the crisis, and the role of initial macroeconomic conditions, quality of institutions, risk aversion, and prudential measures. We find that exchange rate appreciation and reductions in sovereign risk do moderate dollarization; but the results for global volatility have low statistical significance, perhaps because global shocks tend to preserve, to a large extent, relative attractiveness of foreign assets. Nonetheless, estimated impulse-response functions point to a large but short-lived positive impact of global volatility on dollarization, which could reflect economic agents heightened concerns about spillover effects of global uncertainty on the domestic economy.
      PubDate: 22 Jan 2015 09:00:00 EST
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