Macroeconomic Challenges Facing Low-Income Countries


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Macroeconomic Challenges Facing
Low-Income Countries

New Perspectives

January 30-31, 2014

The International Monetary Fund will hold the "Macroeconomic Challenges Facing Low-Income Countries" Conference at its headquarters in Washington DC on January 30–31, 2014. The conference is sponsored by the International Monetary Fund and funded by the UK Department for International Development.

The conference aims to provide a forum for discussing innovative theoretical and empirical research on the key macroeconomic challenges facing low-income countries, and to facilitate the exchange of views among researchers and policymakers. One of the key goals is to increase the attention devoted to macroeconomic issues in low-income countries. The papers shed light on how such macroeconomic challenges operate in practice, and how they interact with each other, especially in terms of their effect on growth, macroeconomic stability, and resilience to shocks. Conference topics include monetary policy, fiscal policy, natural resource management, investment and growth, economic diversification and structural transformation, and financial sector development.

The deadline for public registration is Monday, January 27, 2014. Registered attendees are required to present photo identification on entering the IMF at 1900 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. For questions regarding the conference, please send an email to Please note that, for this event, invitations for visa purposes will be extended only to the conference presenters.

Conference Agenda

Thursday, January 30, 2014




Opening Remarks

Olivier Blanchard (Economic Counsellor and Director, Research Department, IMF)


Session 1: Macroeconomic Policies and Inequality

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Moderator: Irina Telyukova (UCSD and IMF)

"Distributional effects of monetary policy in developing countries"
Eswar Prasad* (Cornell University) and Boyang Zhang (Cornell University)

"Income inequality, trade, and financial openness"
Guay C. Lim (University of Melbourne) and Paul D. McNelis* (Fordham University)


Coffee Break


Session 2: Investment, Infrastructure, and Growth

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Moderator: Andrew Warner (IMF)

"Rail revival in Africa? The impact of privatization"
Matt Lowe* (MIT)

"Investing volatile oil revenues in capital-scarce economies: An application to Angola"

Christine Richmond, Irene Yackovlev*, and Susan Yang* (IMF)


Lunch (By invitation, HQ2, Conference Hall 2)


Session 3: Monetary and Exchange Rate Policy

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Moderator: Felipe Zanna (IMF)

"Why do so many oil exporters peg their currency? Foreign reserves as a de-facto sovereign wealth fund"
Samuel Wills* (University of Oxford) and Rick van der Ploeg (University of Oxford)

"Monetary policy in low income countries in the face of the global crisis: The case of Zambia"
Alfredo Baldini, Jaromir Benes, Andrew Berg*, Mai Dao, and Rafael Portillo (IMF)


Coffee Break


Session 4: Economic Diversification and Growth

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Moderator: Chris Papageorgiou (IMF)

"Deindustrialization and economic diversification"
Tiago Berriel* (PUC-Rio), Marco Bonomo (Insper Institute of Education and Research), and Carlos Carvalho (PUC-Rio)

"Imported intermediate inputs and export diversification in low-income countries"
Felipe Benguria* (University of Virginia)


Reception / Dinner (By invitation, HQ2-02B-300G)

Friday, January 31, 2014


Session 5: Macroeconomic Shocks, Uncertainty, and Growth

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Moderator: Alberto Martin (CREI and IMF)

"Does uncertainty reduce growth? Using disasters as natural experiments"
Scott Baker (Stanford University) and Nick Bloom* (Stanford University)

"Developing macroeconomic stabilization policies for low-income countries"
Romain Houssa* (University of Namur), Jolan Mohimont (University of Namur), and Chris Otrok (University of Missouri)


Coffee Break


webcast Watch Video (6 & 7 sessions)

Session 6: Managing the Capital Account

Moderator: Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti (IMF)

“Capital flows in low-income countries”
Philip Lane* (Trinity College Dublin)

Session 7: Measuring Economic Output

“Output data revisions in low-income countries”
Eduardo Ley (World Bank) and Florian Misch* (ZEW Mannheim)


Lunch (By invitation, HQ2, Conference Hall 2)


Session 8: Financial Sector Shocks and Instability


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Moderator: Galina Hale (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco)

“Liquidity crisis: Are Islamic banking institutions more resilient?”
Sajjad Zaheer (University of Amsterdam) and Moazzam Farooq* (Central Bank of Oman)

“Banking market structure and macroeconomic stability: Are low-income countries special?” 
Franziska Bremus* (DIW Berlin) and Claudia Buch (Halle Institute for Economic Research)

“Financial sector reforms, competition, and banking system stability in sub-Saharan Africa” 
 Jennifer Moyo (AfDB), Boaz Nandwa* (Dubai Economic Council), Jacob Oduor (AfDB), and Anthony Simpasa (AfDB)


Coffee Break


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Panel Discussion: New Perspectives on Low-Income Country Macroeconomics

Chair: Min Zhu (Deputy Managing Director, IMF)

Stefan Dercon (Chief Economist, UK DfID)
Philip Lane (Trinity College Dublin)  
Chris Otrok (University of Missouri)  
Eswar Prasad (Cornell University) 


Closing Remarks

Andrew Berg (IMF)
Catherine Pattillo (IMF)

Conference organizers
  • Camelia Minoiu (IMF, Research Department)
Conference coordinators
  • Carla Intal (IMF, Strategy, Policy and Review Department)
  • Biva Joshi (IMF, Research Department)
  • Jing Wang (IMF, Research Department)
  • Kelsey Woodard (IMF, Research Department)