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Journal Cover IMF Working Papers
  [2 followers]  Follow
   Full-text available via subscription Subscription journal  (Not entitled to full-text)
   ISSN (Print) 1018-5941
   Published by International Monetary Fund Homepage  [11 journals]
  • Strategic Corporate Layoffs
    • Abstract: Firms in the S&P 500 often announce layoffs within days of one another, despite the fact that the average S&P 500 constituent announces layoffs once every 5 years. By contrast, similarsized privately-held firms do not behave in this way. This paper provides empirical evidence that such clustering behavior is largely due to CEOs managing their reputation in financial markets. To interpret these results we develop a theoretical framework in which managers delay layoffs during good economic states to avoid damaging the markets perception of their ability. The model predicts clustering in the timing of layoff announcements, and illustrates a mechanism through which the cyclicality of firms layoff policies is amplified. Our findings suggest that reputation management is an important driver of layoff policies both at daily frequencies and over the business cycle, and can have significant macroeconomic consequences.
      PubDate: 28 Dec 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • Dynamic Fuel Price Pass-Through : Evidence from a New Global Retail Fuel
           Price Database
    • Abstract: This paper assesses the dynamic pass-through of crude oil price shocks to retail fuel prices using a novel database on monthly retail fuel prices for 162 countries. The impulse response functions suggest that on average, a one cent increase in crude oil prices per liter translates into a 1.2 cent increase in the retail gasoline price at peak level six months after the shock. However, the estimates vary significantly across country groups, ranging from about 0.5 cent in MENA countries to two cents in advanced economies. The results also show that positive oil price shocks have a larger impact than negative price shocks on the retail gasoline price. Finally, the paper underscores the importance of the new dataset in refining estimates of the fiscal cost of incomplete pass-through.
      PubDate: 23 Dec 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • Lost and Found : Market Access and Public Debt Dynamics
    • Abstract: The empirical literature on sovereign debt crises identifies the level of public debt (measured as a share of GDP) as a key variable to predict debt defaults and to determine sovereign market access. This evidence has led to the widespread use of (country-specific) debt thresholds to assess debt sustainability. We argue that the level of the debt-to-GDP ratio, whose use is justified on a theoretical and empirical ground, should not be the only fiscal metric to assess the complex relationship between public debt and debt defaults/market access. In particular, we show that, in a large panel of emerging markets, the dynamics of the debt ratio plays a critical role for market access. In particular, given a certain level of debt, a steadily declining debt ratio is associated with a lower probability of debt distress/market loss and with a higher likelihood of market re-access once access had been lost.
      PubDate: 23 Dec 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • Capital Account Openness in Low-income Developing Countries : Evidence
           from a New Database
    • Abstract: The relevance of recording and assessing countries’ capital flow management measures is well-recognized, but very few studies have focused on low-income developing countries (LIDCs). A key constraint is the lack of an appropriate index to measure the openness of capital account and its change over time. This paper fills the gap by constructing a de jure index based on information contained in the IMF’s Annual Report on Exchange Arrangements and Exchange Restrictions. It provides an aggregate index to capture the overall openness of the capital account, and also provides a breakdown of openness for various subcategories of capital flows. The new database covers 164 countries with information on 12 types of asset categories over the period 1996–2013. The index provides the largest coverage of LIDCs among all existing indices and also provides granularity on openness across asset types, direction of flows and residency. The paper examines the link between de jure capital account openness with de facto capital flows and outlines potential applications of this database.
      PubDate: 23 Dec 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • Financial Information and Macroeconomic Forecasts
    • Abstract: We study the forecasting power of financial variables for macroeconomic variables for 62 countries between 1980 and 2013. We find that financial variables such as credit growth, stock prices and house prices have considerable predictive power for macroeconomic variables at one to four quarters horizons. A forecasting model with financial variables outperforms the World Economic Outlook (WEO) forecasts in up to 85 percent of our sample countries at the four quarters horizon. We also find that cross-country panel models produce more accurate out-of-sample forecasts than individual country models.
      PubDate: 23 Dec 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • Potential Output Growth Estimates for Central America and the Dominican
    • Abstract: This paper presents estimates of potential output for all Central American economies. Our findings are that potential output growth has declined in recent years in most economies of Central America. Lower capital accumulation and TFP growth are accounting for most of this decline. Apart from Costa Rica, there are no indications of significant economic slack in 2015 in Central America. Looking forward, potential growth in most Central American economies is expected to continue at an average of 4 percent in the medium-term due to structural constraints to capital and employment growth, and low TFP growth. Increasing potential growth, thus, should be a policy priority and structural reforms must be directed at improving business conditions, product and labor markets, and enhancing the capacity for innovation.
      PubDate: 23 Dec 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • Does Gross or Net Debt Matter More for Emerging Market Spreads?
    • Abstract: Does gross or net debt matter for long-term sovereign spreads in emerging markets? The topic is important for undestanding the borrowing cost implications of public assetliability management decisions (e.g. using assets to lower debt). We investigate this question using data on emerging market economies (EMEs) over the period 1998–2014. We find that both gross debt and assets have a significant impact on long-term sovereign bond spreads in emerging markets, with effects roughly offsetting each other (coefficients of opposite sign and similar magnitude). Hence, net debt seems more appropriate than gross debt when evaluating the impact of indebtedness on spreads. The empirical results suggest that an increase in net debt by 10 percentage points of GDP implies an increase in the spread by 100–120 basis points, and the effect is larger during periods of domestic distress. The key results from this empirical study are quite robust to alternative specifications and subgroups of EMEs.
      PubDate: 22 Dec 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • China’s Rising IQ (Innovation Quotient) and Growth : Firm-level
    • Abstract: This paper examines whether the rapid growing firm patenting activity in China is associated with real economic outcome by building a unique dataset uniting detailed firm balance sheet information with firm patent data for the period of 1998-2007. We find strong evidence that within-firm increases in patent stock are associated with increases in firm size, exports, and more interestingly, total factor productivity and new product revenue share. Event studies using first-time patentees as the treatment group and non-patenting firms selected based on Propensity-Score Matching method as the control group also demonstrate similar effects following initial patent application. We also find that although state-owned enterprises (SOEs) on average have lower level of productivity and are less innovative compared to their non-state-owned peers, increases in patent stock tend to be associated with higher productivity growth among SOEs, especially for patents with lower innovative content. The latter could reflect the preferential government policies enjoyed by SOEs.
      PubDate: 22 Dec 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • Does Balance Sheet Strength Drive the Investment Cycle? Evidence from Pre-
           and Post-Crisis Cyprus
    • Abstract: Fixed investment was the most important contributing factor to the boom-bust cycle in Cyprus over the last decade. Investment boomed during a credit boom in mid-2000s, during which the corporate sector borrowed heavily. Investment collapsed after 2008 when the credit boom ended. Investment and corporate balance sheets further deteriorated during the Cypriot banking crisis over 2012–2014. Using firm-level investment and balance sheet data, we find that corporate indebtedness is negatively associated with investment both before and after the banking crisis, although the effect is weaker after the Cypriot banking crisis, possibly due to the reduced role of credit in driving post-crisis investment and growth. Our results suggest the need to repair corporate balance sheets to support sustainable invesetment.
      PubDate: 22 Dec 2016 09:00:00 EST
  • Food Inflation in Sub-Saharan Africa : Causes and Policy Implications
    • Abstract: This paper analyzes food inflation trends in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) from 2000 to 2016 using two novel datasets of disaggregated CPI baskets. Average food inflation is higher, more volatile, and similarly persistent as non-food non-fuel (NF/NF) inflation, especially in low-income countries (LICs) in SSA. We find evidence that food inflation became less persistent from 2009 onwards, related to recent improvements in monetary policy frameworks. We also find that high food prices are driven mainly by non-tradable food in SSA and there is incomplete pass-through from world food and fuel prices and exchange rates to domestic food prices. Taken together, these finding suggest that central banks in low-income countries with high and persistent food inflation should continue to pay attention to headline inflation to anchor inflation expectations. Other policy levers include reducing tariffs and improving storage and transport infrastructure to reduce food pressures.
      PubDate: 22 Dec 2016 09:00:00 EST
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