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   ISSN (Print) 1018-5941
   Published by International Monetary Fund Homepage  [11 journals]
  • Gender Equality and Economic Diversification
    • Abstract: We show that gender inequality decreases the variety of goods countries produce and export, in particular in low-income and developing countries. We argue that this happens through at least two channels: first, gender gaps in opportunity, such as lower educational enrollment rates for girls than for boys, harm diversification by constraining the potential pool of human capital available in an economy. Second, gender gaps in the labor market impede the development of new ideas by decreasing the efficiency of the labor force. Our empirical estimates support these hypotheses, providing evidence that gender-friendly policies could help countries diversify their economies.
      PubDate: 14 Jul 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • 6½ Decades of Global Trade and Income : “New Normal” or
           “Back to Normal” after GTC and GFC?
    • Abstract: Global merchandise trade expanded rapidly over the last 6½ decades and its relationship with global income has seen ebbs and flows. This paper examines the shifts in this relationship using time series data over 1950-2014 and situates it in the current and longer term context. The conjunctural context comes from, among other things, the “great trade collapse” (GTC) and the global financial crisis (GFC) in 2009, and developments since then. The longer term context comes from the relative role of “globalization” and “technology” shocks in accounting for the short and long run variance of global exports and income. The paper estimates trade and income elasticities using ADL models taking account of structural breaks, and impulse response functions from structural VARs. The estimated SVAR model provides a lens to ask whether global trade and income are in a “new normal’ or only “back to (an old) normal” after the GTC and GFC.
      PubDate: 12 Jul 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • The Fiscal Multiplier in Small Open Economy : The Role of Liquidity
    • Abstract: This paper studies the fiscal multiplier using a small-open-economy DSGE model enriched with financial frictions. It shows that the multiplier is large when frictions are present in domestic and international financial markets. The reason is that in the model government bonds are more liquid than private financial assets and that entrepreneurs face liquidity constraints. A bond-financed fiscal expansion eases these constraints and stimulates investment and hence growth. This mechanism, however, breaks down under the assumption of perfect international capital mobility, suggesting that conventional models which ignore the presence of frictions in international capital markets tend to underestimate the fiscal multiplier.
      PubDate: 12 Jul 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • South Africa : Labor Market Dynamics and Inequality
    • Abstract: This paper analyzes the determinants of high unemployment in South Africa by studying labor market dynamics using individual level panel data from the Quarterly Labor Force Survey. While prior work experience and gender are found to be important determinants of the job-finding rate, education attainment and race are important determinants of the job-exit rate. Using stock-flow equations, counterfactual exercises are conducted to quantify the role of these different transition rates on unemployment. The paper also explores the contribution of unemployment towards inequality. Reducing unemployment is found to be important for reducing inequality – estimates suggest that a 10 percentage point reduction in unemployment lowers the Gini coefficient by 3 percent. Achieving a similar reduction solely through transfers would require a 40 percent increase in government transfers.
      PubDate: 11 Jul 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • The Dynamics of Sovereign Debt Crises and Bailouts
    • Abstract: Motivated by the recent European debt crisis, this paper investigates the scope for a bailout guarantee in a sovereign debt crisis. Defaults may arise from negative income shocks, government impatience or a "sunspot"-coordinated buyers strike. We introduce a bailout agency, and characterize the minimal actuarially fair intervention that guarantees the no-buyers-strike fundamental equilibrium, relying on the market for residual financing. The intervention makes it cheaper for governments to borrow, inducing them borrow more, leaving default probabilities possibly rather unchanged. The maximal backstop will be pulled precisely when fundamentals worsen.
      PubDate: 11 Jul 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • Cleaning-up Bank Balance Sheets : Economic, Legal, and Supervisory
           Measures for Italy
    • Abstract: To stabilize and bring down nonperforming loans (NPLs) in the Italian banking system, the Italian authorities have been implementing a number of reforms, aimed among others at speeding up insolvency and enforcement proceedings, strengthening bank corporate governance, cleaning up balance sheets, and facilitating bank consolidation. This paper examines the Italian banking system’s NPL problem, which ties up capital, weighing on bank profitability and authorities’ economic reforms. It argues for a comprehensive approach, encompassing economic, supervisory, and legal measures. The authorities’ reforms are important steps toward this end. The paper describes measures that could further support their actions.
      PubDate: 11 Jul 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • Insolvency and Enforcement Reforms in Italy
    • Abstract: Italian banks are burdened with high levels of nonperforming loans, the cleanup of which depends in important part on the efficiency of insolvency and enforcement processes. Traditionally, these processes in Italy have taken very long, hampering the timely cleanup of balance sheets. In response, the authorities have legislated a number of measures. This paper explores the recent insolvency and enforcement reforms and the remaining challenges. These reforms introduce important positive changes that are expected to yield full benefits over the medium to long term. The efficacy of the reforms, including to deal with the current stock of high nonperforming loans, can be enhanced by introducing effective out-of-court enforcement mechanisms, supplemented by a more intensive use of informal and hybrid debt-restructuring solutions. Moreover, there is an urgent need to rationalize the system, which over the years has become very complex and intricate.
      PubDate: 11 Jul 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • Fixed Base Year vs. Chain Linking in National Accounts : Experience of
           Sub-Saharan African Countries
    • Abstract: There are two approaches for producing volume estimates of GDP, fixed base year and annual chaining. While most advanced economies have adopted the chain-linked approach in the past twenty years, some African countries are hesitant to do so, in part because of the computation and data requirements, and resource constraints. What difference does this make for the accuracy of the growth rates? From detailed data provided by three Sub-Saharan African countries we run simulations and conclude that the differences of GDP growth using the two approaches are small and do not behave in the consistent way found in advanced countries. We also show that weak deflation techniques and overly aggregated classifications used to derive volume measures can lead to large distortions. We conclude that improved deflation techniques and detailed classification should be addressed before adopting chain linking.
      PubDate: 08 Jul 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • An Analysis of OPEC’s Strategic Actions, US Shale Growth and the
           2014 Oil Price Crash
    • Abstract: In November 2014, OPEC announced a new strategy geared towards improving its market share. Oil-market analysts interpreted this as an attempt to squeeze higher-cost producers including US shale oil out of the market. Over the next year, crude oil prices crashed, with large repercussions for the global economy. We present a simple equilibrium model that explains the fundamental market factors that can rationalize such a "regime switch" by OPEC. These include: (i) the growth of US shale oil production; (ii) the slowdown of global oil demand; (iii) reduced cohesiveness of the OPEC cartel; (iv) production ramp-ups in other non-OPEC countries. We show that these qualitative predictions are broadly consistent with oil market developments during 2014-15. The model is calibrated to oil market data; it predicts accommodation up to 2014 and a market-share strategy thereafter, and explains large oil-price swings as well as realistically high levels of OPEC output.
      PubDate: 06 Jul 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • Inflation, Financial Developments, and Wealth Distribution
    • Abstract: We find that from 1995 to 2002 in China, the dispersion of wealth decreased, the moneywealth ratio increased for all wealth levels and the aggregate money-output ratio increased. We develop a two-asset dynamic general equilibrium model in which households face a portfolio adjustment cost and a borrowing constraint. We find that financial development lowers the dispersion of wealth by reducing the precautionary motive of households. In addition, tight monetary policies increase the value of money and thus increase the moneywealth ratio for all wealth levels and the aggregate money-output ratio.
      PubDate: 06 Jul 2016 09:00:00 EST
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
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