Posted on February 25, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Martine Guerguil
Does the European Union need closer fiscal integration, and in particular a stronger fiscal center, to become more resilient to economic shocks? A new IMF book, Designing a European Fiscal Union: Lessons from the Experience of Fiscal Federations, published by Routledge, examines the experience of 13 federal states to help inform the debate on this issue. It analyzes in detail their practices in devolving responsibilities from the subnational to the central level, compares them to those of the European Union, and draws lessons for a possible future fiscal union in Europe.
The book sets out to answer three sets of questions: (1) What is the role of centralized fiscal policies in federations, and hence the size, features, and functions of the central budget? (2) What institutional arrangements are used to coordinate fiscal policy between the federal and subnational levels? (3) What are the links between federal and subnational debt, and how have subnational financing crises been handled, when they occurred?
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic research, Europe, Financial Crisis, Fiscal, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Politics, Public debt | Tagged: Austria, Belgium, book launch, Brazil, Canada, debt, euro area, Europe, European Union, fiscal federation, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 23, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Christine Lagarde
(Versions in 中文, Français, 日本語, Русский, عربي and Español)
Leveling the legal playing field for women holds real promise for the world—in both human and economic terms. Unfortunately, that promise remains largely ignored and its potential untapped. In too many countries, too many legal restrictions conspire against women to be economically active—to work.
What can be done to remove these barriers? A new study done by IMF economists seeks to answer that question.
The bottom line? It’s about a fair, level playing field.
Filed under: Africa, Asia, Economic research, Employment, Global Governance, growth, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Middle East, Reform | Tagged: child care, East Asia, education, Egypt, employment, empowering women, female labor participation, gender wage gap, Japan, Kenya, labor force, labor market, labor regulations, Middle East and North Africa, Namibia, Peru, U.A.E, U.S., women | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 19, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Bergljot Bjørnson Barkbu, S. Pelin Berkmen, and Hanni Schölermann
Investment in the euro area, and particularly private investment, has not recovered since the onset of the global financial crisis.
In fact, the decline in investment has been much more drastic than in other financial crises; and is more in line with the most severe of these crises (see Chart 1). The October 2014 World Economic Outlook showed that many governments cut investment because their finances became strained during the crisis. In addition, housing investment collapsed in some countries, reflecting a natural scaling back after an unsustainable boom. But what is holding back private non-residential investment?
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Europe, Financial Crisis, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Reform | Tagged: banking union, euro area, France, Germany, Greece, investment, Ireland, Italy, monetary policy, Portugal, Spain, structural reform | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 12, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Nigel Chalk and Jarkko Turunen
The remarkable collapse in the price of oil—a key global price that has virtually halved in the space of just a few months—has received a lot of attention lately.
Meanwhile, another significant shift has taken place in recent months that is just as surprising and has wide-reaching global implications—the dramatic drop in long-term U.S. Treasury bond yields. The last time we saw 10-year Treasury bond yields this low was in early May 2013. As many will remember, this didn’t last long and when it corrected, it set off a burst of volatility across emerging markets.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Finance, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment | Tagged: bond yields, emerging market, inflation, interest rates, market volatility, oil prices, U.S., U.S. Federal Reserve, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 11, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Christopher Jarvis
(Version in عربي)
Egypt currently faces what may seem to be conflicting objectives. On the one hand, there’s an urgent need to restore economic stability—by achieving lower budget deficits, public debt and inflation, and adequate foreign exchange reserves. At the same time, there’s a long-standing need to achieve better standards of living—with more jobs, less poverty, and better health and education systems—one of the key reasons why people took to the streets in 2011.
Some might think that those two goals don’t go together—that the actions needed to reduce the budget and external deficits will necessarily take away from jobs and growth. But that’s not true. Some of the same policies that will improve Egypt’s financial situation can also help improve living standards.
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Employment, Financial Crisis, Government, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Middle East, Public debt, Reform | Tagged: Arab Spring, Article IV, education, Egypt, fiscal deficit, health, inflation, infrastructure, jobs, Middle Eas, poverty, public debt, structural reform, tourism, unemployment | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 6, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Christine Lagarde
(Versions in 中文, Français, 日本語, Русский, Türk, and Español)
Implementation, investment, and inclusiveness: these three policy goals will dominate the G-20 agenda this year, including the first meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in Istanbul next week. As Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu recently put it: “Now is the time to act” – şimdi uygulama zamanı.
There is a lot at stake. Without action, we could see the global economic supertanker continuing to be stuck in the shallow waters of sub-par growth and meager job creation. This is why we need to focus on these three “I’s”:
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Emerging Markets, Employment, Europe, G-20, Globalization, Government, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Politics, Reform | Tagged: Cameroon, Chile, Christine Lagarde, Cote d’Ivoire, ebola, Egypt, emerging market, euro area, G-20, Haiti, India, Indonesia, inflation, infrastructure, infrastructure investment, investment, Japan, jobs, Malaysia, monetary policy, Netherlands, oil prices, Turkey, U.S. | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 2, 2015 by iMFdirect
By Plamen Iossifov and Jiri Podpiera
Inflation has been falling sharply across Europe since 2012 (see Charts 1 and 2). Across Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), inflation expectations have also drifted down especially among countries who peg their currencies to the euro (Bulgaria, Croatia, as well as Lithuania, which adopted the euro on January 1, 2015), but also in those that target their inflation rate (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Romania).
The recent drop in world oil prices has re-ignited the debate about good vs. bad disinflation. For the euro area, risks from low inflation have been discussed in the March 2014 iMFdirect post. Our blog examines the causes and potential consequences of falling inflation from the perspective of EU countries outside the euro zone.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Europe, Financial Crisis, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Politics, Reform | Tagged: Central Europe, commodiity prices, core inflation, Czech Republic, deflation, disinflation, eastern Europe, euro, euro zone, exchange rate, food prices, Hungary, inflation, oil prices, Poland, Romania, spillover, Sweden, unemployment | Leave a comment »