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09 декабря 2014, 08:00

Addressing access and behavioral constraints through social intermediation services : a review of Chile Solidario and Red Unidos

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Social programs are often designed under the assumption that individuals make rational decisions that improve their welfare. Yet, informational and behavioral constraints limit the extreme and chronic poor's access and participation in social programs. This paper reviews the implementation and performance of two "social intermediation services" that were designed to address these constraints, improve beneficiaries' access to social programs, and help the poor surmount poverty: Chile Solidario, the first such service in Latin America, and Red Unidos, implemented later in Colombia. The analysis provides insights on key factors influencing performance, cost effectiveness, and the impacts that such services can be expected to have.

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08 декабря 2014, 08:00

Economic effects of the Syrian war and the spread of the Islamic state on the Levant

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This paper uses a global computable general-equilibrium framework with new detail on six Levant countries -- the Arab Republic of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic, and Turkey -- to quantify the direct and indirect economic effects of the Syrian war and the advance of the Islamic State on the Levant. Syria and Iraq bear the brunt of the direct economic costs, while the other Levant countries lose in per capita but not in aggregate terms. The fact that the Islamic State's spread has undermined regional trade adds to varying degrees to the direct costs in all Levant economies and in the case of Syria and Iraq doubles the welfare losses. All these countries are foregoing opportunities to expand intra-Levant trade and the associated gains in economic efficiency and diversification. The average welfare effects are not indicative of within-country incidence, which varies among workers, landowners, and capitalists.

Выбор редакции
08 декабря 2014, 08:00

Economic effects of the Syrian war and the spread of the Islamic state on the Levant

  • 0

This paper uses a global computable general-equilibrium framework with new detail on six Levant countries -- the Arab Republic of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic, and Turkey -- to quantify the direct and indirect economic effects of the Syrian war and the advance of the Islamic State on the Levant. Syria and Iraq bear the brunt of the direct economic costs, while the other Levant countries lose in per capita but not in aggregate terms. The fact that the Islamic State's spread has undermined regional trade adds to varying degrees to the direct costs in all Levant economies and in the case of Syria and Iraq doubles the welfare losses. All these countries are foregoing opportunities to expand intra-Levant trade and the associated gains in economic efficiency and diversification. The average welfare effects are not indicative of within-country incidence, which varies among workers, landowners, and capitalists.

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04 декабря 2014, 08:00

Sukuk markets : a proposed approach for development

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The issuance of sukuk, as an instrument in Islamic finance, has been growing in recent years. Many policy makers and businesses are looking at the sukuk markets as sources of long-term financing. The paper identifies key issues impeding further development of sukuk markets globally, namely, standardization of structures and practices, investor protection concerns relating to insolvency and governance regimes, and market liquidity. The paper also offers approaches in developing domestic sukuk markets and in accessing the international market. The authors suggest that, in developing domestic sukuk markets, policy makers use a framework similar to that of the development of conventional bond markets, that is, by establishing (1) well-functioning money markets, (2) efficient primary markets and securities-offering regimes, (3) a robust and diversified investor base, (4) a market infrastructure that facilitates trading, price transparency, and efficient clearing and settlement of transactions, (5) derivatives market and hedging tools to support risk management by issuers and investors, and (6) a credible legal and regulatory framework. In accessing the international market, the issues policy makers or potential sukuk issuers should consider include awareness of and knowledge of sukuk, legal foundation, taxation, governance, and obligors' credit rating.

Выбор редакции
04 декабря 2014, 08:00

Sukuk markets : a proposed approach for development

  • 0

The issuance of sukuk, as an instrument in Islamic finance, has been growing in recent years. Many policy makers and businesses are looking at the sukuk markets as sources of long-term financing. The paper identifies key issues impeding further development of sukuk markets globally, namely, standardization of structures and practices, investor protection concerns relating to insolvency and governance regimes, and market liquidity. The paper also offers approaches in developing domestic sukuk markets and in accessing the international market. The authors suggest that, in developing domestic sukuk markets, policy makers use a framework similar to that of the development of conventional bond markets, that is, by establishing (1) well-functioning money markets, (2) efficient primary markets and securities-offering regimes, (3) a robust and diversified investor base, (4) a market infrastructure that facilitates trading, price transparency, and efficient clearing and settlement of transactions, (5) derivatives market and hedging tools to support risk management by issuers and investors, and (6) a credible legal and regulatory framework. In accessing the international market, the issues policy makers or potential sukuk issuers should consider include awareness of and knowledge of sukuk, legal foundation, taxation, governance, and obligors' credit rating.

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03 декабря 2014, 08:00

Incomplete integration and contagion of debt distress in economic unions

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This paper compares different fiscal integration schemes on the basis of their ability to finance public investments and resilience to debt distress and contagion. Complete integration schemes, where a central authority chooses the level of public investments with productivity-enhancing externalities across different jurisdictions, are shown to be superior to incomplete integration schemes, where member governments choose public investments unilaterally. As a result, equilibrium income is greater for citizens of member states under a complete integration scheme. Moreover, complete integration schemes are shown to be more resilient to idiosyncratic shocks and more effective in limiting contagion of debt distress. This is mainly because the central authority can credibly borrow more without risking default than member states taken together can and it can "transfer resilience" across them if needed. These findings inform discussions on structural aspects of secular stagnation in Europe by emphasizing a potential challenge in the institutional design of fiscal responsibilities.

Выбор редакции
03 декабря 2014, 08:00

Incomplete integration and contagion of debt distress in economic unions

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This paper compares different fiscal integration schemes on the basis of their ability to finance public investments and resilience to debt distress and contagion. Complete integration schemes, where a central authority chooses the level of public investments with productivity-enhancing externalities across different jurisdictions, are shown to be superior to incomplete integration schemes, where member governments choose public investments unilaterally. As a result, equilibrium income is greater for citizens of member states under a complete integration scheme. Moreover, complete integration schemes are shown to be more resilient to idiosyncratic shocks and more effective in limiting contagion of debt distress. This is mainly because the central authority can credibly borrow more without risking default than member states taken together can and it can "transfer resilience" across them if needed. These findings inform discussions on structural aspects of secular stagnation in Europe by emphasizing a potential challenge in the institutional design of fiscal responsibilities.

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25 ноября 2014, 08:00

Structural reforms and labor market outcomes : international panel data evidence

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This paper explores the impact of structural reforms on a comprehensive set of macro-level labor-market outcomes, including the unemployment rate, the average wage index, and overall and female employment levels and labor force participation rates. Together these outcome variables capture the overall health of the labor market and the aggregate welfare of workers. Yet, there seems to be no other comprehensive empirical investigation in the existing literature of the impact of structural reforms at the cross-country macro level on labor-market outcomes other than the unemployment rate. Data were collected from a variety of sources, including the World Bank World Development Indicators, the International Monetary Fund International Financial Statistics, and the International Labor Organization Key Indicators of the Labor Market. The resulting dataset covers up to 88 countries, the majority being developing, for 10 years on either side of structural reforms that took place between 1960 and 2001. After documenting the average trends across countries in the labor-market outcomes up to 10 years on either side of each country’s structural reform year, the authors run fixed-effects ordinary least squares as well as instrumental variables regressions to account for the likely endogeneity of structural reforms to labor-market outcomes. Overall the results suggest that structural reforms lead to positive outcomes for labor. Unlike related literature, the paper does not find conclusive evidence on unemployment. Redistributive effects in favor of workers, along the lines of the Stolper-Samuelson effect, may be at work.

Выбор редакции
25 ноября 2014, 08:00

Structural reforms and labor market outcomes : international panel data evidence

  • 0

This paper explores the impact of structural reforms on a comprehensive set of macro-level labor-market outcomes, including the unemployment rate, the average wage index, and overall and female employment levels and labor force participation rates. Together these outcome variables capture the overall health of the labor market and the aggregate welfare of workers. Yet, there seems to be no other comprehensive empirical investigation in the existing literature of the impact of structural reforms at the cross-country macro level on labor-market outcomes other than the unemployment rate. Data were collected from a variety of sources, including the World Bank World Development Indicators, the International Monetary Fund International Financial Statistics, and the International Labor Organization Key Indicators of the Labor Market. The resulting dataset covers up to 88 countries, the majority being developing, for 10 years on either side of structural reforms that took place between 1960 and 2001. After documenting the average trends across countries in the labor-market outcomes up to 10 years on either side of each country’s structural reform year, the authors run fixed-effects ordinary least squares as well as instrumental variables regressions to account for the likely endogeneity of structural reforms to labor-market outcomes. Overall the results suggest that structural reforms lead to positive outcomes for labor. Unlike related literature, the paper does not find conclusive evidence on unemployment. Redistributive effects in favor of workers, along the lines of the Stolper-Samuelson effect, may be at work.

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17 ноября 2014, 08:00

What makes a currency procyclical ? an empirical investigation

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This paper looks at the correlation between the cyclical components of gross domestic product and the exchange rate and classifies countries' currencies as procyclical if they appreciate in good times, countercyclical if they appreciate in bad times, and acyclical otherwise. With this classification, the paper shows that: (i) the countries that are commodity exporters and experience procyclical capital flows tend to have procyclical currencies; (ii) countries with procyclical currencies tend to restrict their capital accounts, perhaps as an attempt to reduce the degree of procyclicality; (iii) countries with procyclical currencies pursue procyclical monetary policy; (iv) however, in the last decade, there is a disconnect between the cyclicality of currency and monetary policy; and (v) the disconnect may reflect a decline in the fear of floating, which can be partially attributed to an improvement in countries' net foreign asset positions.

Выбор редакции
17 ноября 2014, 08:00

What makes a currency procyclical ? an empirical investigation

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This paper looks at the correlation between the cyclical components of gross domestic product and the exchange rate and classifies countries' currencies as procyclical if they appreciate in good times, countercyclical if they appreciate in bad times, and acyclical otherwise. With this classification, the paper shows that: (i) the countries that are commodity exporters and experience procyclical capital flows tend to have procyclical currencies; (ii) countries with procyclical currencies tend to restrict their capital accounts, perhaps as an attempt to reduce the degree of procyclicality; (iii) countries with procyclical currencies pursue procyclical monetary policy; (iv) however, in the last decade, there is a disconnect between the cyclicality of currency and monetary policy; and (v) the disconnect may reflect a decline in the fear of floating, which can be partially attributed to an improvement in countries' net foreign asset positions.

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13 ноября 2014, 08:00

Durable goods and poverty measurement

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The paper focuses on durable goods and their role in the measurement of living standards. The paper reviews the theoretical underpinnings of the methods available to estimate the value of the services flowing from consumer durable goods. It also provides a unified framework that encompasses the acquisition approach, the rental equivalent approach, and the user cost approach. The pros and cons of each method are discussed in the context of poverty and inequality analysis and it is argued that the user cost should receive the highest consideration.