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Journal Cover IMF Working Papers
  [1 followers]  Follow
   Full-text available via subscription Subscription journal
   ISSN (Print) 1018-5941
   Published by International Monetary Fund Homepage  [11 journals]
  • Optimal Debt Policy Under Asymmetric Risk
    • Abstract: In the paper we show that, most of the time, smooth reduction in the debt ratio is optimal for tax-smoothing purposes when fiscal risks are asymmetric, with large debt-augmenting shocks more likely than commensurate debt reducing shocks. Asymmetric risks are a feature of 200 years of data for the U.S. and the U.K.: rare but recurrent large surges of the debt-to-GDP ratio, followed by very gradual but persistent declines over long periods. More informal evidence from many other countries suggests that asymmetry is a general feature of fiscal shocks. The gradual smooth reduction in the public debt to GDP ratio is not a response to past developments. Instead it is optimal given recurrent fiscal risks and the empirical characteristics of fiscal shocks. The behavior of the debt-to-GDP ratio in the U.K. and the U.S. seems roughly compatible with the prescriptions of the tax-smoothing model.
      PubDate: 26 Aug 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • Market Frictions, Interbank Linkages and Excessive Interconnections
    • Abstract: This paper studies banks' decision to form financial interconnections using a model of financial contagion that explicitly takes into account the crisis state of the world. This allows us to model the network formation decision as optimising behaviour of competitive banks, where they balance the benefits of forming interbank linkages against the cost of contagion. We use this framework to study various market frictions that can result in excessive interconnectedness that was seen during the crisis. In this paper, we focus on two channels that arise from regulatory intervention—deposit insurance and the too big to fail problem.
      PubDate: 26 Aug 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • China’s Financial Interlinkages and Implications For Inter-Agency
    • Abstract: China’s financial system has become very large, diversified, and interconnected. This changing financial landscape could potentially produce systemic risks, arising primarily from growing financial interconnectedness. The paper argues that, to address the potential systemic risks, Chinese authorities should further strengthen internal coordination, notably by institutionalizing better information collection and sharing among regulators, as well as enhancing coordinated and comprehensive analysis of systemic risk.
      PubDate: 26 Aug 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • Unlocking Pakistan’s Revenue Potential
    • Abstract: Despite the significant progress in recent years, Pakistan’s tax revenue remains low relative to comparator countries and the tax effort expected for the country’s level of development. In light of the potential endogenity of tax revenue and economic growth, this paper contributes to the literature by developing a novel identification strategy to estimate the short-run and long-run elasticities of tax revenue. The empirical findings indicate that a tax system with low elasticity cannot take full advantage of economic growth. Accordingly, unlocking revenue potential is dependent on broadening the tax base, strengthening administration, and rationalizing tax policy across all levels of the general government.
      PubDate: 26 Aug 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • Smoke Screen : Estimating the Tax Pass-Through to Cigarette Prices in
    • Abstract: This paper estimates the magnitude and speed of tax pass-through across tobacco products at different price points in Pakistan by using a novel dataset of monthly observations on cigarette prices in 50 cities during the period 2004-2015. The pass-through of cigarette taxes to retail prices is found to occur within two months, but is mostly incomplete in magnitude. On average, a one-rupee tax increase is estimated to lead to an increase of only PRs 0.8 in retail cigarette prices. This is driven by the fact that tobacco manufacturers absorb a significant part of the tax increase. For the premium brand, however, I observe full passthrough, indicating possibilities of different demand elasticities across product tiers. These findings are likely to be attributable to competitive market pressures, especially at the budget end of the price spectrum, possibly stemming from changing consumption patterns with greater awareness of health risks as well as the impact of illicit domestic production.
      PubDate: 26 Aug 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • Changing Times for Frontier Markets : A Perspective from Portfolio
           Investment Flows and Financial Integration
    • Abstract: This paper investigates to what extent low-income developing countries (LIDCs) characterized as frontier markets (FMs) have begun to be subject to capital flows dynamics typically associated with emerging markets (EMs). Using a sample of developing countries covering the period 2000–14, we show that: (i) average annual portfolio flows to FMs as a share of GDP outstripped those to EMs by about 0.6 percentage points of GDP; (ii) during years of heightened stress in global financial markets, portfolio flows to FMs dried up like those to EMs; and that (iii) FMs have become more integrated into international financial markets. Our findings confirm that, in terms of portfolio flows, FMs have become more similar to EMs than to the rest of LIDCs and are therefore more vulnerable to swings in global financial markets conditions. Accordingly, it is important to have in place frameworks to strengthen FMs’ resilience to adverse capital flows shocks.
      PubDate: 23 Aug 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • Growing Apart, Losing Trust? The Impact of Inequality on Social
    • Abstract: There is a widespread perception that trust and social capital have declined in United States as well as other advanced economies, while income inequality has tended to increase. While previous research has noted that measured trust declines as individuals become less similar to one another, this paper examines whether the downward trend in social capital is responding to the increasing gaps in income. The analysis uses data from the American National Election Survey (ANES) for the United States, and the European Social Survey (ESS) for Europe. Our analysis for the United States exploits variation across states and over time (1980-2010), while our analysis of the ESS utilizes variation across European countries and over time (2002-2012). The results provide robust evidence that overall inequality lowers an individual’s sense of trust in others in the United States as well as in other advanced economies. These effects mainly stem from residual inequality, which may be more closely associated with the notion of fairness, as well as inequality in the bottom of the distribution. Since trust has been linked to economic growth and development in the existing literature, these findings suggest an important, indirect way through which inequality affects macro-economic performance.
      PubDate: 22 Aug 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • Profitability and Balance Sheet Repair of Italian Banks
    • Abstract: The profitability of Italian banks depends, among other factors, on the strength of the ongoing economic recovery, the stance of monetary policy, and the beneficial effects of current and past reforms, notably to address structural obstacles to resolving nonperforming loans (NPLs) and to foster banking sector consolidation. Improved profitability would enable banks to raise capital buffers and accelerate the cleanup of their balance sheets. This paper investigates quantitatively the current and prospective earnings capacity of Italian banks. A bottom-up analysis of the 15 largest Italian banks suggests that the system is on the whole profitable, but that there is significant heterogeneity across banks. Many banks should become more profitable as the economy recovers, but their capacity to lend depends on the size of their capital buffers. However, a number of smaller banks face profitability pressures, even under favorable assumptions. There is thus a need to push ahead decisively on cleaning up balance sheets, including through cost cutting and efficiency gains.
      PubDate: 19 Aug 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • Aggregate Uncertainty and Sectoral Productivity Growth : The Role of
           Credit Constraints
    • Abstract: We show that an increase in aggregate uncertainty—measured by stock market volatility—reduces productivity growth more in industries that depend heavily on external finance. This effect is larger during recessions, when financing constraints are more likely to be binding, than during expansions. Our statistical method—a difference-in-difference approach using productivity growth for 25 industries for 18 advanced economies over the period 1985-2010—mitigates concerns with omitted variable bias and reverse causality. The results are robust to the inclusion of other sources of interaction effects, such as financial development (Rajan and Zingales, 1998) and counter-cyclical fiscal policy (Aghion et al., 2014). The results also hold if economic policy uncertainty (Baker et al., 2015) is used instead of stock market volatility as the measure of aggregate uncertainty.
      PubDate: 16 Aug 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • China’s Growing Influence on Asian Financial Markets
    • Abstract: This paper finds that financial spillovers from China to regional markets are on the rise. The main transmission channel appears to be trade linkages, although direct financial linkages are playing an increasing role. Without an impact on global risk premiums, China’s influence on regional markets is not yet to the level of the United States, but comparable to that of Japan. If China-related shocks are coupled with a rise in global risk premiums, as in August 2015 and January 2016, spillovers to the region could be significantly larger. Over the medium term, China’s financial spillovers could rise further with tighter financial linkages with the region, including through the ongoing internationalization of the renminbi and China’s capital account liberalization.
      PubDate: 12 Aug 2016 09:00:00 EST
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