Selected Issues Papers

IMF Selected Issues Papers are prepared by IMF staff as background documentation for periodic consultations with member countries.

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February 27, 2023

Economic Effects of Climate Change and Food Insecurity in Niger: Niger

Description: Niger’s exposure to recurrent shocks, including climate shocks, increases its vulnerability to food insecurity. This paper aims to quantify the combined effects of climate shocks and food insecurity on key economic variables and identify the most effective mitigation policy responses using a general equilibrium model. Results indicate that rural households would be the most affected by a climate shock resulting in a decline in domestic agricultural production, which would reduce their consumption, erode their capital, and thus increase urban-rural inequalities. Simulations show that cash transfers and the reduction of internal mobility costs appear to be more effective in mitigating the impact on households of a climate shock on agricultural production.

February 26, 2023

Hungarian Monetary Policy Operations Before, During, and After the Pandemic: Hungary

Description: Within its inflation-targeting framework, the Magyar Nemzeti Bank (MNB) has frequently adjusted its monetary operations. This has raised questions about their internal consistency, appropriateness, and effectiveness. A broader assessment, implying a comparison to a counterfactual, is outside the scope of this paper. Our prior is agnostic. We find that the changes were generally well-motivated within the MNB statutory powers; prioritized, transparently explained, and monitored; and promptly adjusted, when they no longer served their purpose. Occasionally, some tools have worked at cross purposes. Government policies have at times hampered monetary policy. Simplicity comes with a premium, as complexity can blur signals.

February 26, 2023

Drivers of Inflation: Hungary

Description: Though high and rising inflation has been a challenge for most economies across Europe in 2022 and into 2023, it has accelerated in Hungary to the highest level in Europe. This paper examines how and why Hungary reached historically high inflation. It draws on an augmented Phillips Curve to estimate the impact of common drivers of inflation, examines the role of labor market tightness and policy stances, and analyzes possible changes to the degree of exchange rate pass-through in recent years. Overall, a rapid recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, a series of exogenous shocks, and too loose a policy mix fueled inflation to its highest level in decades. Though monetary and fiscal policies are now tightening, regulatory price caps undermine those efforts. Going forward, a consistently and persistently tight overall policy mix is needed to drive inflation back to the central bank’s target.

February 13, 2023

The Efficiency of Social Spending in Niger: Niger

Description: Despite some progress, poverty remains elevated and education and health outcomes are lagging. This paper finds evidence of inefficiencies in education, health, and social protection spending in Niger. Programs are typically not well-targeted, some are regressive, and there are significant coverage gaps. Improving the living standards of the Nigerien as well as education and health systems, a priority of the government, would require not only scaling up social spending but also strenghtening social protection programs through better targeting, supporting girls’ education, and moving away from general subsidies. Moreover, social assistance should focus more on enhancing productivity and resilience to shocks.

January 20, 2023

Labor Market Implications for Green Investments and Carbon Pricing in Spain: Spain

Description: We provide a tractable framework for assessing the labor market impact of policies that support the green transition of the Spanish economy, taking into account input-output linkages. We present illustrative examples that quantify changes in sectoral employment, occupations and skills stemming from two different green policies: (i) the announced green investments in the recovery plan; and (ii) an increase in carbon pricing and an expansion of the EU Emission Trading System (ETS). Our analysis shows that the labor market impact of these two policies is net positive, although the results depend on the design of the green policies, particularly on the use of the proceeds from the increase in carbon pricing. Strengthening active labor market policies, with a focus on training, and complementing them with education policies such as the expansion of vocational training, would facilitate the transition of workers from shrinking to expanding sectors.

January 20, 2023

Labor Productivity Dynamics in Spain: A Firm-Level Perspective: Spain

Description: This paper uses firm-level data that covers over 1.2 million Spanish firms during the period of 2003-2019 to provide an updated assessment of the drivers of labor productivity in the Spanish economy, focusing on both TFP and firm investment. The empirical analysis shows significant differences in production constraints in both the capital market and the labor market, across firm size and age. This paper also includes a review of Spain’s ambitious reform commitments under the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan and concludes with recommendations for further action.


December 6, 2022

Evaluating Fiscal Rules for Lesotho: Kingdom of Lesotho

Description: A key challenge for Lesotho is the downward rigidity in public expenditure—which increases when SACU transfers are buoyant but fails to be pared back when they fall. Fiscal rules would be of value in Lesotho to help provide constraints on spending and resist political pressure to overspend, while embedding fiscal responsibility within the country’s macro-fiscal framework and ensuring debt sustainability. This paper evaluates options for fiscal rules for Lesotho, discusses the institutional framework required to help underpin a sound fiscal-rule framework, posits a possible fiscal-rule framework for Lesotho, and offers a roadmap to introduce the framework.

December 6, 2022

Addressing Fiscal Pressures: Kingdom of Lesotho

Description: Lesotho’s fiscal situation is challenging. This paper assesses the pressure points of main components of revenues, current spending, and capital spending, and then proposes a growth-friendly consolidation plan while protecting the vulnerable.

December 6, 2022

Policy Coordination in Lesotho: Kingdom of Lesotho

Description: In a country such as Lesotho with high capital mobility and leakages abroad, the relationship between both fiscal, monetary, and exchange rate policy is intertwined, such that public spending and reserves are strongly linked. The paper offers an overview of the economic institutions and arrangements in Lesotho, discusses a short primer on macroeconomic policies under a fixed exchange rate, stresses a vital role for macro policy coordination in Lesotho, and proposes a macro policy framework. While the paper is developed in context of Lesotho, the analysis should also be applicable to small open economies under the fixed exchange rate arrangement.

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