Posted on February 26, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Jonathan D. Ostry and Andrew Berg
(Version in Français, Português, Русский, 中文)
Rising income inequality looms high on the global policy agenda, reflecting not only fears of its pernicious social and political effects, (including questions about the consistency of extreme inequality with democratic governance), but also the economic implications. While positive incentives are surely needed to reward work and innovation, excessive inequality is likely to undercut growth, for example by undermining access to health and education, causing investment-reducing political and economic instability, and thwarting the social consensus required to adjust in the face of major shocks.
Understandably, economists have been trying to understand better the links between rising inequality and the fragility of economic growth. Recent narratives include how inequality intensified the leverage and financial cycle, sowing the seeds of crisis; or how political-economy factors, especially the influence of the rich, allowed financial excess to balloon ahead of the crisis.
Filed under: Economic research, Employment, Financial Crisis, Financial regulation, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: education, income inequality, inequality, investment, research | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 9, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Christine Lagarde
Having visited Cambodia and Korea on this whirlwind tour of the region, I touched down in my third and last country—Myanmar.
What a place! It is rare to find such a combination of enchanting beauty, warm hospitality, and an unstoppable drive to succeed. Myanmar is undergoing a great awakening to the world and all that it has to offer. And it is engaging on multiple fronts. For example, it has recently taken over the chairmanship of ASEAN, and when I arrived I found the country in the midst of hosting the South East Asian games.
Filed under: Asia, Emerging Markets, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Low-income countries | Tagged: Christine Lagarde, education, health, infrastructure, Myanmar, poverty reduction, women | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 4, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Christine Lagarde
Cambodia is the first leg of my Asia trip. This is a country that has already grown by leaps and bounds, and now stands at the frontier of becoming an emerging market economy in the heart of the most dynamic hub of the global economy.
I could feel this energy and excitement everywhere. Cambodians, especially young Cambodians, have big dreams and substantial societal aspirations. They want dignity and respect, so that they can fulfill their potential, both as individuals and as a nation. They want to embrace the wider world and all that it has to offer. They want good governance and strong institutions, which are essential to underpin economic development, empower people and ensure that prosperity is broadly shared.
I heard these themes consistently—from inspiring women leaders, from dynamic young economists, and from the students at the Royal School of Administration, where I gave a speech on how Cambodia can keep its forward momentum.
Filed under: Asia, Emerging Markets, Employment, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries, Politics | Tagged: cambodia, capacity building, Christine Lagarde, education, macroeconomic stability, women | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 29, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Christine Lagarde
In a couple of days, I will embark upon a trip to Asia. Every time I visit Asia, I can feel that dynamism and intensity are in the air. It feels like moving forward in time. Hardly surprising as under current trends, developing Asia alone will account for half of global GDP by 2050. Back to Asia really means back to the future.
This time, I will visit three countries—Cambodia, Korea, and Myanmar. These countries represent three different chapters of the great Asian story, each in their own unique way.
Korea is a country that has propelled itself from very low income levels to one of the world’s richest economies in an astoundingly short period of time. It has a well-deserved reputation for innovation, technological brilliance and hard work. I am convinced it can stay at the leading edge, especially by making labor markets more inclusive—including for women—and making the services sector more dynamic and productive.
Filed under: Asia, Emerging Markets, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries | Tagged: cambodia, Christine Lagarde, education, India, Korea, Myanmar, People's Bank of China, women | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 12, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Christine Lagarde
(Versions in عربي)
Two days ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Kuwait, a member country of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). It was a whirlwind visit, with many places to see and people to meet, in a thriving corner of the global economy. Kuwait has extended to me its emblematic tradition of hospitality— a testament to its ancient and noble culture. I was awed by the magnificent artifacts of the al-Sabah collection, which I saw in the beautifully restored Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah cultural center.
Back to economics. The member countries of the council—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates—have some of world’s highest living standards. The region has also become a major destination for foreign workers and a source of remittances for their families back home. And it is a financial center and a hub for international trade and business services.
Filed under: Economic outlook, Emerging Markets, Employment, Finance, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Middle East, عربي | Tagged: Bahrain, Christine Lagarde, economic growth, education, GCC, Kuwait, MENA, Middle East, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates | 4 Comments »
Posted on March 27, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Carlo Cottarelli
(Versions in Español, 中文, Français, 日本語, and Русский)
Let’s face it. Everybody loves cheap energy. Almost all human activities require energy consumption and, if something is so basic, it seems pretty obvious that it should not be denied to anyone and government should make it as cheap as possible to both households and companies, including through subsidies. This can help households avoid paying exorbitant energy bills at the end of the month, something that the poor may not be able to afford even for basic needs like heating and cooking.
Companies may also need energy subsidies to help them stay competitive. Energy subsidies appear even more appropriate, and even the obvious thing to do, in countries that have a large supply of energy, like oil producers. After all, this natural wealth in the form of energy belongs to the people; why shouldn’t it be cheap?
Filed under: Africa, Economic research, Español, Finance, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, Français, growth, Inequality, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries, Middle East, Politics, عربي | Tagged: education, energy subsidies, energy taxes, environment, fiscal policy, GDP, infrastructure, reform | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 6, 2012 by iMFdirect
By Christine Lagarde
(Version in Español)
Next week, I will travel to Latin America—my second visit to the region since November 2011. I return with increased optimism, as much of Latin America continues its impressive transformation that started a decade ago.
The region remains resilient to the recent bouts in global volatility, and many countries continue to expand at a healthy pace. An increasing number of people are escaping the perils of poverty to join a growing and increasingly vibrant middle class.
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Emerging Markets, Español, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Public debt | Tagged: advanced economies, Asia, business leaders, capital flow management measures, capital flows, Central America, Chile, Civil Society, Colombia, commodity exporters, competitiveness, debt levels, demand, domestic demand, Economics, education, emerging economies, Europe, exports, external financing conditions, financial sector, financial supervision and regulation, fiscal balances, fiscal cliff United States, fiscal consolidation, fiscal policy, global crisis, global risks, growth, high commodity prices, iMFdirect, inequality, infrastructure, International Monetary Fund, Mexico, middle class, monetary policy, policymakers, poverty, productivity, reforms, students, tailwinds, taxes | 5 Comments »
Posted on June 28, 2012 by iMFdirect
By David Coady and Sanjeev Gupta
The issue of rising income inequality is now at the forefront of public debate. There is growing concern as to the economic and social consequences of the steady, and often sharp, increase in the share of income captured by higher income groups.
While much of the discussion focuses on the factors driving the rise in inequality—including globalization, labor market reforms, and technological changes that favor higher-skilled workers—a more pressing issue is what can be done about it.
In our recent study we find that public spending and taxation policies have had, and are likely to continue to have, a crucial impact on income inequality in both advanced and developing economies.
In advanced economies, this is especially important given that the ongoing fiscal adjustment needs to be continued for many years to reduce public debt to sustainable levels. But it is equally important in developing economies where inequality is relatively high.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Civil Society, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, Globalization, growth, Inequality, Politics, Public debt | Tagged: 99%, automatic stabilizers, David Coady, education, fiscal policy, Globalization, health, higher-skilled workers, iMFdirect blog, inequality, Ireland, labor market reforms, loopholes, OECD, poverty, property, redistribution, Sanjeev Gupta, Spain, tax, technological change, top 1%, unemployment benefits, United States, wealth | 10 Comments »