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IMF Working Papers
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     ISSN (Print) 1018-5941
     Published by International Monetary Fund Homepage  [11 journals]
  • Food Prices and the Multiplier Effect of Trade Policy
    • Abstract: This paper studies the relationship between trade policy and food prices. We show that, when individuals are loss averse, governments may use trade policy to shield the domestic economy from large food price shocks. This creates a complementarity between the price of food in international markets and trade policy. Specifically, unilateral actions give rise to a "multiplier effect": when a shock drives up the price of food, exporters respond by imposing restrictions while importers wind down protection, thus exacerbating the initial shock and soliciting further trade policy activism. We test the key prediction of the theory with a new dataset that comprises monthly information on trade measures across 77 countries and 33 food products for the period 2008-11, finding evidence of a multiplier effect in food trade policy. These findings contribute to inform the broader debate on the proper regulation of food trade policy within the multilateral trading system.
      PubDate: 26 Sep 2014 09:00:00 EST
       
  • Reforming the Corporate Governance of Italian Banks
    • Abstract: Sound corporate governance is essential for a well-functioning banking system and the integrity of financial markets. The paper discusses the corporate governance of Italian banks, its regulatory framework, and the specific challenges arising from the role played by foundations and large cooperatives. Although Italian banks have recently made progress in improving their corporate governance, more needs to be done. In this regard, further improvements should include: (i) strengthening further the existing banking regulations through stricter fit-and-proper rules for directors and controlling shareholders; (ii) implementing the new related party lending regulation with tightened definitions; (iii) strengthening oversight of foundations when they are the controlling shareholders in banks; and (iv) facilitating the transformation of large cooperatives into joint stock companies.
      PubDate: 25 Sep 2014 09:00:00 EST
       
  • The Great Cross-Border Bank Deleveraging: Supply Constraints and
           Intra-Group Frictions
    • Abstract: International banks greatly reduced their direct cross-border and local affiliates’ lending as the global financial crisis strained balance sheets, lowered borrower demand, and changed government policies. Using bilateral, lender-borrower countrydata and controlling for credit demand, we show that reductions largely varied in line with markets’ prior assessments of banks’ vulnerabilities, with banks’ financial statement variables and lender-borrower country characteristics playing minor roles. We find evidence that moving resources within banking groups became more restricted as drivers of reductions in direct cross-border loans differ from those for local affiliates’ lending, especially for impaired banking systems. Home bias induced by government interventions, however, affected both equally.
      PubDate: 25 Sep 2014 09:00:00 EST
       
  • How Much is A Lot? Historical Evidence on the Size of Fiscal
           Adjustments
    • Abstract: The sizeable fiscal consolidation required to stabilize the debt-to-GDP ratios in several countries in the aftermath of the global crisis raises a crucial question on its feasibility. To answer this question, we rely on historical evidence from a sample of 91 adjustment episodes of countries during 1945–2012 that needed and wanted to adjust in order to stabilize debt to GDP. We find that, in at least half the cases, countries improved their cyclically adjusted primary balances by close to 5 percent of GDP. We also observe that, while countries typically make substantial efforts to stabilize debt, once this objective is achieved, they tend to ease their primary balances and do not necessarily get back to their initial lower debt-to-GDP ratio. We find that consolidations tended to be larger when the initial deficit was high and adjustment efforts were sustained over time. Fiscal adjustments also tended to be larger when accompanied by an easing of monetary conditions and, to a lesser extent, by an improvement in credit conditions.
      PubDate: 25 Sep 2014 09:00:00 EST
       
  • A Model-Based Analysis of Spillovers: The Case of Poland and the Euro Area
    • Abstract: This paper studies economic and financial spillovers from the euro area to Poland in a two-country semi-structural model. The model incorporates various channels of macrofinancial linkages and cross-border spillovers. We parameterize the model through an extensive calibration process, and provide a wide range of model properties and evaluation exercises. Simulation results suggest a prominent role of foreign demand shocks (euro area and global) in driving Poland’s output, inflation and interest rate dynamics, particularly in recent years. Our model also has the capability for medium-term conditional forecasting and policy analysis.
      PubDate: 17 Oct 2014 09:00:00 EST
       
  • Determinants of Financial Market Spillovers: The Role of Portfolio
           Diversification, Trade, Home Bias, and Concentration
    • Abstract: This paper defines financial market spillovers as the comovement between two countries’ financial markets and analyzes financial market spillovers over the period 2001-12 through four channels: bilateral portfolio investment, bilateral trade, home bias, and country concentration. The paper finds that, if a country has a large amount of bilateral portfolio exposure in another country, these two countries’ comovement of bond yields are large. Also, countries’ geographical preferences impact financial spillovers; if a country has a stronger home bias, the country could have less spillovers from foreign financial markets. A policy implication from this result is that, if countries become less home-biased and have a greater amount of portfolio investment assets, they should strengthen prudential regulations to mitigate against rising risks of financial spillovers (or risk greater volatility owing to comovement with foreign markets).
      PubDate: 17 Oct 2014 09:00:00 EST
       
  • Regulating Capital Flows at Both Ends: Does it Work?
    • Abstract: This paper examines whether cross-border capital flows can be regulated by imposing capital account restrictions (CARs) in both source and recipient countries, as was originally advocated by John Maynard Keynes and Harry Dexter White. To this end, we use data on bilateral cross-border bank flows from 31 source to 76 recipient (advanced and emerging market) countries over 1995–2012, and combine this information with a new and comprehensive dataset on various outflow and inflow related capital controls and prudential measures in these countries. Our findings suggest that CARs at either end can significantly influence the volume of cross-border bank flows, with restrictions at both ends associated with a larger reduction in flows. We also find evidence of cross-border spillovers whereby inflow restrictions imposed by countries are associated with larger flows to other countries. These findings suggest a useful scope for policy coordination between source and recipient countries, as well as among recipient countries, to better manage potentially disruptive flows.
      PubDate: 17 Oct 2014 09:00:00 EST
       
  • Minimum Wages and Firm Employment: Evidence from China
    • Abstract: This paper provides the first systematic study of how minimum wage policies in China affect firm employment over the 2000-2007 periods. Using a novel dataset of minimum wage regulations across more than 2,800 counties matched with firm-level data, we investigate both the effect of the minimum wage and its policy enforcement tightening in 2004. A dynamic panel (difference GMM) estimator is combined with a “neighbor-pairs-approach” to control for unobservable heterogeneity common to “border counties” that are subject to different minimum wage changes. We show that minimum wage increases have a significant negative impact on employment, with an estimated elasticity of -0.1. Furthermore, we find a heterogeneous effect of the minimum wage on employment which depends on the firm's wage level. Specifically, the minimum wage has a greater negative impact on employment in low-wage firms than in high-wage firms. Our results are robust for different treatment groups, sample attrition correction, and placebo tests.
      PubDate: 16 Oct 2014 09:00:00 EST
       
  • Financial Crises and the Composition of Cross-Border Lending
    • Abstract: We examine the composition and drivers of cross-border bank lending between 1995 and 2012, distinguishing between syndicated and non-syndicated loans. We show that on-balance sheet syndicated loan exposures account for almost one third of total cross-border loan exposures during this period. Furthermore, syndicated loan exposures increased during the global financial crisis due to large drawdowns on credit lines extended before the crisis. Our empirical analysis of the drivers of cross-border loan exposures in a large bilateral dataset shows three main results. First, banks with lower levels of capital favor syndicated over other kinds of cross-border loans. Second, borrower country characteristics such as level of development, economic size, and capital account openness, are less important in driving syndicated than non-syndicated loan activity, suggesting a diversification motive for syndication. Third, information asymmetries between lender and borrower countries, which are important both in normal and crisis times, became more binding for both types of cross-border lending activity during the recent crisis.
      PubDate: 16 Oct 2014 09:00:00 EST
       
  • The Making of a Continental Financial System: Lessons for Europe from
           Early American History
    • Abstract: Alexander Hamilton was the first U.S. Treasury Secretary from 1789 to 1795. When he started, the Federal Government was in default. During his tenure, U.S. Treasuries became the ultimate safe asset. He successfully managed expectations, achieved debt service reduction, and stabilized financial panics. He delivered sound public finances and financial stability. In the end, the U.S. possessed a modern financial system able to finance innovation and growth. At a time when Europe is working its way out of the sovereign debt crisis and implementing Banking Union and Financial Union, it is worthwhile to search for lessons from early U.S. history.
      PubDate: 15 Oct 2014 09:00:00 EST
       
 
 
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