Posted on April 8, 2011 by iMFdirect
By Andrew G. Berg and Jonathan D. Ostry
Many of us have been struck by the huge increase in income inequality in the United States in the past thirty years. The rich have gotten much richer, while just about everyone else has had very modest income growth.
Some dismiss inequality and focus instead on overall growth—arguing, in effect, that a rising tide lifts all boats. But assume we have a thousand boats representing all the households in the United States, with boat length proportional to family income. In the late 1970s, the average boat was a 12 foot canoe and the biggest yacht was 250 feet long. Thirty years later, the average boat is a slightly roomier 15 footer, while the biggest yacht, at over 1100 feet, would dwarf the Titanic! When a handful of yachts become ocean liners while the rest remain lowly canoes, something is seriously amiss.
In fact, inequality matters. And it matters in all corners of the globe. Continue reading
Filed under: growth, Inequality, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: debt, economic growth, growth, income distribution, income inequality, inequality, macroeconomic stability, sustainable growth, trade openness | 42 Comments »
Posted on April 8, 2011 by iMFdirect
By José Viñals
When the global financial system was thrown into crisis, many policymakers were shocked to discover a gaping hole in their policy toolkit.
They have since made significant progress in developing macroprudential policy measures aimed at containing system-wide risks in the financial sector. Yet progress has been uneven. Greater efforts are needed to transform this policy patchwork into an effective crisis-prevention toolkit.
Given the enormous economic and human cost of the recent financial debacle, I strongly believe that we cannot afford to miss this opportunity for substantial reform. Continue reading
Filed under: Financial Crisis, Financial regulation, Financial sector supervision, G-20, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: capital requirements, credit growth, crisis prevention, financial stability, global financial crisis, global financial system, loan-to-value ratio, macroprudential policies, macroprudential regulation, regulatory arbitrage, systemic risk | 9 Comments »
Posted on April 6, 2011 by iMFdirect
By Jeanne Gobat
The near collapse of the financial system that set off the global crisis was due in part to financial institutions suddenly lacking access to funding markets, and liquidity drying-up across securities markets.
Many financial institutions were unable to roll over or obtain short term funding without sustaining significant losses. This threatened to sink them.
Financial institutions did not factor in how their own responses to a liquidity shortfall could make the entire system shut down and less stable—that is, they underestimated their contribution to systemic liquidity risk in good times, and did not bear the cost of their actions on others in bad times.
It only takes a few institutions to pull the plug on a liquidity-filled bathtub before it runs dry, and the central bank needs to open the spigots again. Continue reading
Filed under: Financial Crisis, Financial regulation, Financial sector supervision, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: Basel III, financial institutions, financial system, funding markets, global financial crisis, Global Financial Stability Report, liquidity conditions, liquidity risk, macroprudential policies, Microprudential regulations, regulatory reform, solvency risk, stress-testing, systemic liquidity risk | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 5, 2011 by iMFdirect
Open, wide-ranging, and balanced discussion. For Olivier Blanchard—and co-hosts David Romer, Michael Spence & Joseph Stiglitz—that was the goal of last month’s conference at the IMF on the future of macroeconomic policies after the global financial crisis. And it is exactly what they got.
The crisis was a wakeup call for theorists and policymakers… Economic models, policy tools, and how they are applied need to catch up with changes in the global economic and financial system.
You’ve heard here about views from the conference, but there’s plenty of discussion going on outside the IMF. Here’s a snapshot…. Continue reading
Filed under: Economic research, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: Anders Aslund, David H. Romer, Financial regulation, financial sector risk, global financial crisis, high-frequent trading, Joseph E. Stiglitz, macroeconomic models, Macroeconomic policies, Mark Thoma, Matthew Yglesias, Michael Spence, Olivier Blanchard, Paul Krugman, Perry Mehrling, policy tools, Robert Solow, unemployment | 2 Comments »
Posted on April 4, 2011 by iMFdirect
By Abebe Aemro Selassie
Among the havoc wrought by the global financial crisis, unemployment ranks at the top. This discussion often focuses on the situation in advanced countries. Unemployment in the United States, for example, continues to hover around 9 percent.
Take that and double it. Then you can begin—yes, just begin—to get a sense of the magnitude of the problem in South Africa. Unemployment in South Africa now stands at some 24 percent. Youth unemployment is phenomenally higher still at some 50 percent. Continue reading
Filed under: Africa, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, Inequality, International Monetary Fund, Politics, Public debt | Tagged: global economic crisis, global financial crisis, labor markets, labor protection laws, macroeconomic policy, private investment, South Africa, unemployment, wage bargaining, wage subsidy, youth unemployment | 7 Comments »
Posted on April 2, 2011 by iMFdirect
There has been plenty of reflection, during the past few years, on the causes of the global financial crisis. But, last month’s conference at the IMF focused on taking what we’ve learned from the crisis and looking toward the future of economic policy.
Robert Solow—Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Nobel Prize winning economist—was among those who brought interesting perspectives and a wealth of experience to the conference discussions.
Watch Professor Solow’s interview and hear more about what he has to say on… Continue reading
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Economic research, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: bank credit, economic growth, education, fiscal policy, global economic crisis, global financial crisis, macroeconomic policy, monetary policy, Nobel Prize, public debt, Robert Solow | Leave a comment »