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  IMF Working Papers
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   Full-text available via subscription Subscription journal
   ISSN (Print) 1018-5941
   Published by International Monetary Fund Homepage  [11 journals]
  • The Sources of Business Cycles in a Low Income Country
    • Abstract: We examine the role of global and domestic shocks in driving macroeconomic fluctuations for Ghana. We are able to study the impact of exogenous shocks including productivity, credit supply, and commodity price shocks. We identify the shocks with a combination of sign and recursive restrictions within Bayesian VAR models. As a benchmark we provide results for South Africa to document the difference between two economies with similar structures but different levels of development. We find that global shocks play a more dominant role in South Africa than in Ghana. These shocks operate through three channels: trade, credit and commodity prices.
      PubDate: 25 Feb 2015 09:00:00 EST
       
  • A Phillips Curve with Anchored Expectations and Short-Term Unemployment
    • Abstract: This paper examines the recent behavior of core inflation in the United States. We specify a simple Phillips curve based on the assumptions that inflation expectations are fully anchored at the Federal Reserve’s target, and that labor-market slack is captured by the level of shortterm unemployment. This equation explains inflation behavior since 2000, including the failure of high total unemployment since 2008 to reduce inflation greatly. The fit of our equation is especially good when we measure core inflation with the Cleveland Fed’s series on weighted median inflation. We also propose a more general Phillips curve in which core inflation depends on short-term unemployment and on expected inflation as measured by the Survey of Professional Forecasters. This specification fits U.S. inflation since 1985, including both the anchored-expectations period of the 2000s and the preceding period when expectations were determined by past levels of inflation.
      PubDate: 25 Feb 2015 09:00:00 EST
       
  • Financial Decisions and Investment Outcomes in Developing Countries: The
           Role of Institutions
    • Abstract: This paper analyzes how differences in legal origin, judicial efficiency, and investor protection affect firm leverage and earnings volatility across developing countries. Using a large number of developing countries, four main findings are highlighted. First, firms in civil legal origin countries rely more on debt financing compared to firms in common law countries, and they exhibit lower earnings volatility. Second, under weak judicial enforcement, firms tend to borrow more but they take less risk. Third, stronger creditor rights increase debt financing and reduce earnings volatility. Fourth, firm listing on a developed stock exchange shifts the capital structure towards more equity financing, and it increases the firm’s ability to borrow more when the judicial system is inefficient. The results reinforce the importance of strengthening laws and institutions as well as deepening capital markets in developing countries to improve financing conditions and investment outcomes.
      PubDate: 25 Feb 2015 09:00:00 EST
       
  • Value of WTO Trade Agreements in a New Keyenesian Model
    • Abstract: We revisit the question of the quantitative benefits of WTO trade agreements in a setup that is non-standard from the traditional trade policy point of view. We show that in a New Keynesian model, unilateral trade liberalization reduces welfare due to terms-of-trade deterioration, creating an incentive for a trade agreement. For realistic parameter values, the value of an agreement, which cuts tariffs by one percentage point, is 0.5% to 2% of consumption, much larger than in trade models. The intuition for this result hinges on some New Keynesian features of our framework, such as imperfect competition and endogenous labor supply.
      PubDate: 25 Feb 2015 09:00:00 EST
       
  • Uncertainty and Unemployment: The Effects of Aggregate and Sectoral
           Channels
    • Abstract: We study the role of uncertainty shocks in explaining unemployment dynamics, separating out the role of aggregate and sectoral channels. Using S&P500 data from the first quarter of 1957 to third quarter of 2014, we construct separate indices to measure aggregate and sectoral uncertainty and compare their effects on the unemployment rate in a standard macroeconomic vector autoregressive (VAR) model. We find that aggregate uncertainty leads to an immediate increase in unemployment, with the impact dissipating within a year. In contrast, sectoral uncertainty has a long-lived impact on unemployment, with the peak impact occurring after two years. The results are consistent with a view that the impact of aggregate uncertainty occurs through a “wait-and-see” mechanism while increased sectoral uncertainty raises unemployment by requiring greater reallocation across sectors.
      PubDate: 23 Feb 2015 09:00:00 EST
       
  • Private Sector Deleveraging and Growth Following Busts
    • Abstract: Balance sheet recessions have been a drag on activity after the Global Financial Crisis, underscoring the important role of balance sheet adjustment for resuming sustained growth. In this paper we examine private sector deleveraging experiences across 36 advanced and emerging economies countries since 1960. We consider the common features and divergent experiences of deleveraging episodes across countries, and analyze empirically the impact of different aspects of deleveraging during the bust phase of leverage cycles on subsequent medium-term growth. The results suggest that larger and quicker unwinding of non-financial sector debt overhangs is associated with sizable medium-term output gains, and that policies should focus on facilitating up-front balance sheet adjustment.
      PubDate: 23 Feb 2015 09:00:00 EST
       
  • ASEAN Financial Integration
    • Abstract: The establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) at end-2015 has brought into sharp focus the issue of financial and economic integration in the region. This paper takes stock of ASEAN’s financial integration and prospects. ASEAN integration could accelerate in the years ahead; it will likely be a safe, gradual process consistent with the “ASEAN way” of consensus decision-making. Properly phased and sequenced, closer financial integration has the potential to help increase real incomes and accelerate real convergence within ASEAN and narrow the region’s gap with advanced Asia. Realizing the promise of financial integration will require ASEAN countries to make long-term investments in financial infrastructure. Policymakers can draw on the experience of their more advanced peers and of other regions. Gradualism and safeguards should not be excuses for inaction or financial protectionism. Reliance on flexible policy frameworks and a strengthened and tested regional financial safety net should be part of the agenda. Closer engagement with the Fund could also help.
      PubDate: 23 Feb 2015 09:00:00 EST
       
  • On the First-Round Effects of International Food Price Shocks: the Role of
           the Asset Market Structure
    • Abstract: We develop a tractable small open-economy model to study the first-round effects of international food price shocks in developing countries. We define first-round effects as changes in headline inflation that, holding core inflation constant, help implement relative price adjustments. The model features three goods (food, a generic traded good and a non-traded good), varying degrees of tradability of the food basket, and alternative international asset market structures (complete and incomplete markets, and financial autarky). First-round effects depend crucially on the asset market structure and the different transmission mechanisms they trigger. Under complete markets, inter-temporal substitution prevails, making the inflationary impact of international food prices proportional to the food share in consumption, which in developing economies is typically large. Under financial autarky, the income channel is dominant, and first-round effects are instead proportional to the country's food balance—the difference between the country's food endowment and its consumption—which in developing countries is typically small. The latter result holds regardless of the degree of food tradability. Incomplete markets yield a combination of the two extremes. Our results cast some doubt on the view that international food price shocks are inherently inflationary in developing countries.
      PubDate: 23 Feb 2015 09:00:00 EST
       
  • Investment in the Euro Area: Why Has It Been Weak?
    • Abstract: Investment across the euro area remains below its pre-crisis level. Its performance has been weaker than in most previous recessions and financial crises. This paper shows that a part of this weakness can be explained by output dynamics, particularly before the European sovereign debt crisis. The rest is explained by a high cost of capital, financial constraints, corporate leverage, and uncertainty. There is a considerable cross country heterogeneity in terms of both investment dymanics and its determinants. Based on the findings of this paper, investment is expected to pick up as the recovery strengthens and uncertainty declines, but persistent financial fragmentation and high corporate leverage in some countries will likely continue to weigh on investment.
      PubDate: 19 Feb 2015 09:00:00 EST
       
 
 
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