Posted on October 23, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Prakash Loungani
(version in 中文)
Raising the minimum wage is a polarizing issue. One side worries that raising it will lower employment. The other side downplays the impact on employment and plays up the positive impact on the living standards of the poor. Both sides are able to cling to their beliefs as the evidence, much of which comes from high-income (“advanced”) economies, is mixed.
The majority of the global labor force, however, is in the emerging markets. Moreover, for a number of these countries, instituting a minimum wage or raising it is squarely on the policy agenda. But little is known about the impacts of minimum wages on employment and living standards in emerging markets.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Asia, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, Fiscal policy, Global Governance, growth, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund, unemployment | Tagged: China, employment, income, labor force, labor market, manufacturing, minimum wage | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 16, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Luis Brandão-Marques, Gaston Gelos, and Erik Oppers
The global financial crisis reminded us that banks often take risks that are excessive from society’s point of view and can damage the economy. In part, this is the result of the incentives embedded in compensation practices and of inadequate monitoring by stakeholders. Our analysis found the right policies could reduce banks risky behavior.
In our latest Global Financial Stability Report we take stock of recent developments in executive pay, corporate governance, and bank risk taking, and conduct a novel empirical analysis.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Annual Meetings, Economic outlook, Economic research, Finance, Financial regulation, Fiscal policy, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Reform | Tagged: bank capital, banking sector, banks, financial system, Global Financial Stability Report, investment, policymakers, risk management, shareholders, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 10, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Serkan Arslanalp, David Jones, and Sanjay Hazarika
Six years after the start of the global financial crisis, low interest rates and other central bank policies in the United States remain critical to encourage economic risk-taking—increased consumption by households, and greater willingness to invest and hire by businesses. However, this prolonged monetary ease also may have encouraged excessive financial risk-taking. Our analysis in the latest Global Financial Stability Report suggests that although economic benefits are becoming more evident, U.S. officials should remain alert to excessive financial risk-taking, particularly in lower-rated corporate debt markets.
Bullish financial risk-taking bears monitoring
Persistently low global interest rates have prompted investors to search for higher returns in a wide range of markets, such as stocks, and investment-grade and high-yield bonds. This has resulted in escalating asset prices, and enabled issuers to sell assets with a reduced degree of protection for investors (we give you an example below). The combined trends of more expensive assets and a weakening quality of issuance could pose risks to stability.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Annual Meetings, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Finance, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, Globalization, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment | Tagged: banking system, corporate debt, emerging market, Global Financial Stability Report, interest rates, U.S. Fed, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 10, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Francesco Columba and Jarkko Turunen
(Versión en español)
photo: Patrick H. Corkery/DoD/Sipa USA/Newscom
After more than five years of exceptionally low interest rates, the U.S. Fed is getting closer to the point of managing a liftoff of policy interest rates from close to zero. As of today, liftoff is expected to take place by around mid-2015.
But this is not set in stone. The Fed has repeatedly emphasized that the timing will depend on the state of the U.S. economy. If things look better, policy rates may increase earlier. Conversely, weaker than expected data may well mean that interest rates will move up later.
In our view, based on our most recent economic projections, there is some scope for policy rates to stay at zero for a little while longer than mid-2015, given the remaining slack in the labor market and still low inflation.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic outlook, Employment, Fiscal policy, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: fiscal policy, IMF, interest rates, International Monetary Fund, monetary policy, unemployment, United States, US Federal Reserve | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 14, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Stephan Danninger
(Versions in 日本語)
Japan’s GDP declined by almost 7 percent in the second quarter, more than many had forecast including us here at the IMF. Many cite the increase in the sales tax this April for this decline. But that is not the full story.
Yes, it is true that consumer responses to major tax increases are difficult to predict, and large spending swings are not unusual. We see this pattern in many countries (see chart) including Germany’s 2007 VAT increase, which had a short-lived impact.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Asia, Economic outlook, Economic research, Employment, Finance, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Reform | Tagged: Abenomics, Bank of Japan, consumption tax, Germany, inflation, Japan, labor market, sales tax, structural reform, VAT | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 17, 2014 by iMFdirect
Fiscal policy makers have faced an extraordinarily challenging environment over the last few years. At the outset of the global financial crisis, the IMF for the first time advocated a fiscal expansion across all countries able to afford it, a seeming departure from the long-held consensus among economists that monetary policy rather than fiscal policy was the appropriate response to fluctuations in economic activity. Since then, the IMF has emphasized that the speed of fiscal adjustment should be determined by the specific circumstances in each country. Its recommendation that in general deficit reduction proceed steadily, but gradually, positions the IMF between the fiscal doves (who argue for postponing fiscal adjustment altogether) and the fiscal hawks (who argue for a front-loaded adjustment).
All this is highlighted in a recently released book Post-Crisis Fiscal Policy, edited by Carlo Cottarelli, Philip Gerson and Abdelhak Senhadji, that brings together the analysis underpinning the IMF’s position on the evolving role of fiscal policy. The book underscores how the global financial crisis has reshaped our understanding of the role of fiscal policy with topics that include a historical view of debt accumulation; the timing, size, and composition of fiscal stimulus packages in advanced and emerging economies; the heated debate surrounding the size of fiscal multipliers and the effectiveness of fiscal policy as a countercyclical tool and more.
Check out this book, which is written for a wide audience, and watch the webcast of the book launch hosted by the Peterson Institute for International Economics on July 14 .
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Finance, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, Globalization, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: book launch, debt, fiscal adjustment, fiscal policy, Fiscal Stimulus | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 9, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Sanjeev Gupta and Enrique Flores
(Versions in Español)
The Finance Minister answers her mobile. On the line is the Minister of Energy, who informs her that the country has struck oil and that he expects revenues from its sale to start flowing into the budget in the coming four years. While excited by the prospects of higher revenues—indeed the average resource-rich country gets more than 15 percent of GDP in resource revenues—she starts to ponder how to use these revenues for her country’s development. She is aware that only in rare cases have natural resources served as a catalyst for development; too often they have led to economic instability, corruption, and conflict or what has been termed as “the resource curse.”
Filed under: Economic research, Finance, Financial regulation, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Reform | Tagged: Alaska, budget, energy, income, income distribution, macroeconomics, natural resources, Nigeria, oil, resource wealth, subsidies, wealth | Leave a comment »