Working Papers

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2024

June 28, 2024

The Catalytic Impact of IMF Lending on Official Development Assistance

Description: This paper explores the catalytic impact of IMF lending to Low-Income Countries on Official Development Assistance (ODA) during 1990-2019. It disentangles the effect on the amounts of ODA on countries’ participation in IMF programs (“extensive margin”) and the size of the IMF-supported program (“intensive margin”). To address selection biases, we rely on the interaction of past IMF program participation and IMF liquidity as an instrument for program participation and employ the review of access limits as an instrument for the size of disbursements. We document that a one percentage point (pp) of GDP increase in IMF disbursements catalyzes additional ODA of 2.7 pp of GDP. In addition, we find that IMF disbursements catalyze ODA mostly from multilateral donors (1.3 pp of GDP) and to lesser extent from traditional bilateral donors (0.6 pp of GDP). Among multilateral donors, the strongest effect is on World Bank disbursements, followed by the EU. Finally, we document that catalytic effects on ODA have decreasing returns to large IMF disbursement amounts.

June 21, 2024

Has the Transmission of US Monetary Policy Changed Since 2022?

Description: Activity and inflation responded slowly to the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes in 2022. Was this because the transmission of monetary policy had changed? Or did other shocks offset tighter policy? We use pre-pandemic data to estimate a VAR with monetary policy shocks identified from high-frequency data, and use it as a filter to back out the sequence of monetary policy shocks consistent with data since 2022. We compare these implied shocks to the actual shocks and find the difference statistically significant during February-July 2022. These differences imply that monetary transmission was around 25 percent weaker than normal. Our method accounts for other shocks; allowing them to change to match the post-COVID covariance of the data produces similar results but in a shorter period. We decompose changes in the uncertainty of our estimate and find that colinearity of shocks is generally more important than uncertainty over model parameters. We extend our analysis to central bank information shocks and find Federal Reserve communication was less powerful than usual during 2021.

June 21, 2024

Drivers of Post-COVID Private Consumption in the U.S.

Description: Private consumption in the U.S. has recovered swiftly from the pandemic trough and has been running above the pre-pandemic trend even as interest rates rose sharply. This paper examines the underlying drivers for this strong growth in consumption. Using both state- and household-level data, we find that excess savings from the pandemic, large increases in household wealth (especially housing), along with solid real income gains contributed to strengthening post-pandemic consumption. Compared with pre-COVID estimates, the marginal propensity to consume out of housing wealth is substantially higher, which, together with large gains in housing prices, made the wealth effect a key driver for post-pandemic consumption growth.

June 21, 2024

Escaping the Financial Dollarization Trap: The Role of Foreign Exchange Intervention

Description: Financial dollarization is considered a source of macroeconomic instability in many emerging economies. Dollarization constrains the ability of central banks to stimulate output during economic downturns. In contrast to the conventional monetary transmission mechanism, a monetary policy loosening in a dollarized economy leads to a currency depreciation, adverse balance sheet effects, and a contraction in investment and output growth. In this paper we evaluate the role of foreign exchange reserves in facilitating macroeconomic stabilization in a financially dollarized economy. We first show empirically that foreign exchange intervention in response to capital outflows can largely reduce the volatility of output and the real exchange rate in dollarized economies. We then develop a small open economy model with foreign currency debt and balance sheets effects. Our quantitative model shows that an active foreign exchange intervention policy is sufficient for offsetting the output volatility associated with financial dollarization. These results can explain the prevalence of low macroeconomic volatility in some dollarized economies (Christiano et al., 2021) and they highlight the role of foreign exchange reserves in reducing the welfare costs of dollarization.

June 21, 2024

A Projection Model for Resource-rich and Dollarized Economy: The Democratic Republic of the Congo

Description: The paper introduces a semi-structural Quarterly Projection Model (QPM) tailored for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), highlighting its resource richness and high degree of dollarization. We provide an overview of the model's specifications to elucidate key features of the DRC economy and present its properties, evaluating its alignment with DRC data and assessing its goodness of fit. Additionally, the paper demonstrates the QPM's practical application through a counterfactual scenario, comparing policy recommendations with the actual policy responses of the Central Bank of the Republic of Congo to observed exchange rate and inflation pressures in 2023. Beyond the QPM, the paper showcases supplementary tools that enhance its utility for generating medium-term forecasts and developiong narratives in support of monetary policymaking. Specifically, we introduce the Nowcasting and Near-Term Forecast models, designed to assess the economy in real-time and predict short-term inflationary trends.

June 21, 2024

Green Fiscal Rules? Challenges and Policy Alternatives

Description: This paper studies the impact of green fiscal rules – designed to protect climate-related spending –on debt dynamics. Simulations of green rules that exempt green spending from the rule limits for an emergingmarket economy illustrate that they can lead to unsustainable debt dynamics when the net zero emissions goal is pursued mostly using spending-based instruments (e.g., investment and subsidies). Or the rule would need to implicitly assume a large fiscal adjustment in the non-green budget, which would undermine its credibility. It will be needed to build broad public consensus for a more comprehensive fiscal strategy that tackles the difficult policy tradeoffs that will be required and takes into account long-term effects. A more appropriate mix of climate policies, including actively employing carbon pricing, should be pursued within the overall setting of fiscal and debt objectives. Developing ‘green’ medium-term fiscal frameworks would help to integrate climate change considerations into fiscal policy design in a more comprehensive manner.

June 21, 2024

Post-pandemic Productivity Dynamics in the United States

Description: We study U.S. labor productivity growth and its drivers since the COVID-19 pandemic. Labor productivity experienced large swings since 2020, due to both compositional and within-industry effects, but has since returned to its pre-pandemic trend. Industry-level panel regressions show that measures of labor market churn are associated with higher productivity growth both in the cross-section and over time. Sectors with higher investment in digitalization, particularly in teleworkable industries, also experience higher productivity growth on average. There has also been an increase in business formation since the pandemic, but its impact on productivity dynamics will likely need more time to be reflected in the data.

June 21, 2024

A Conceptual Policy Framework for Leveraging Digitalization to Support Diversification in Sub-Saharan Africa

Description: The need for Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries to diversify their economies is more urgent than ever. However, despite its established economic benefits, several challenges have precluded diversification in SSA. Against this backdrop, interesting initiatives to further adopt digital technologies, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, suggest that digitalization is a promising avenue to overcome barriers to diversification. Fast-paced advances in the diffusion of digital technologies and knowledge have the potential to transform SSA economies through several channels. By connecting people and facilitating the rapid diffusion of information, digitalization also promises to reshape the industrial structure of activities in new and unprecedented ways. Therefore, digitalization has the potential to promote diversification and growth in SSA by acting both as an enabler and driver of economic activities, helping support resilience. Yet, while the empirical literature on SSA suggests that digitalization can provide new opportunities for growth, employment, productivity, and inclusion, the impact on diversification has not been studied. This paper aims to fill this important gap in the literature. It also aims to strengthen IMF engagement with SSA policy makers by providing a conceptual policy framework, encompassing both horizontal and sectoral policies, on how to leverage digitalization to support diversification and boost resilience in a post-COVID world.

June 21, 2024

The Price of De-Risking Reshoring, Friend-Shoring, and Quality Downgrading

Description: This paper estimates the costs of ‘de-risking’ scenarios between China and OECD members at the aggregate and sectoral levels. Aggregate large-scale de-risking – reshoring by increasing reliance on domestic production and friend-shoring by reducing imports from specific foreign countries – is quantified with the IMF’s GIMF model, suggesting significant permanent effects on the global economy. Returning integration to 2000 levels translates into long-term global GDP losses of 4.5 percent under reshoring and as much as 1.8 percent under friend-shoring. Friend-shoring does not necessarily deliver a boon to third countries as trade diversion benefits might be largely offset by contractions in China and OECD members. Sectoral de-risking, where all trade between rivals is eliminated in specific products, is quantified through empirical estimation of the scope for quality downgrading. The results demonstrate the potential for significant losses in input quality should there be an escalation in export bans. Losses are asymmetric against China in the specific case of semiconductors but can be significant for both sides in other sectors—including in critical areas such as environmental goods.

June 14, 2024

Inequality in a More Equal World—Labor Market Gender Gaps in St. Lucia

Description: St. Lucia has enviably high female labor force participation rate and strikingly low participation gap vis-à-vis male. The latter is lower than OECD average and way below world average. Women are also more educated than men. Yet, using a micro dataset of St. Lucia Labor Force Survey over the period 2016-2021, our analysis points towards disproportionate effects of childcare on female participation and unemployment and a substantial gender gap in labor income for workers without higher education. Moreover, the income gap is not explained by observable worker characteristics. While the paper does not explore causal links, this unique feature of high female participation and, yet, considerable gender gaps in other dimensions could be due to the social, historical, and political structure that resulted in a matrifocal but not a matriarchal system. At the same time, the small gender gaps for workers with higher education across participation, unemployment, and labor income seem to suggest that women can overcome some barriers through education. Our results bring to the fore two crucial aspects related to gender studies: (i) While macroeconomic indicators like female labor participation rate are important tools, they are not always sufficient to capture progress in gender equality; and (ii) econometric analysis needs to be complemented with a more holistic understanding of the history and social context shaping deeply rooted gender traits.

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