5 Things You Need to Know About the IMF and Gender

November 22nd, 2017|

Woman engineer at work: The IMF's research shows that countries can reap benefits from closing gender gaps (photo: nimis69/iStock by Getty Images)

By IMFBlog

November 22, 2017

Women count. They contribute to society in every way, including as a crucial part of their countries’ economic growth and prosperity.

Not long ago, few people would have expected the International Monetary Fund to be engaged in work on gender inequality. We began by incorporating gender analysis and policy advice in our annual assessments of countries’ economies. Today, with some 30 gender consultations completed, and a dozen more planned, we have made a dent. But there is still a long way to go. Continue reading “5 Things You Need to Know About the IMF and Gender” »

Chart of the Week: Women Workers Wanted in Japan

November 21st, 2017|

By IMFBlog

November 21, 2017

Version in 日本語 (Japanese)

A Japanese mother works at home with her child. Encouraging women to take on full time work and have children would help boost growth in Japan (photo: iStock by Getty Images).

Problem: Japan is the most aged society among advanced economies (almost 27 percent of its people are over 65). It also faces a shortage of labor (unemployment is just 2.8 percent). Both limit the country’s growth potential. Continue reading “Chart of the Week: Women Workers Wanted in Japan” »

Climate Change Will Bring More Frequent Natural Disasters & Weigh on Economic Growth

November 16th, 2017|

by Sebastian Acevedo, and Natalija Novta

November 16, 2017

Versions in  عربي (Arabic), 中文(Chinese), Français (French),  日本語 (Japanese), Русский (Russian)

As natural disasters become more frequent and intense, countries should invest in resilient infrastructure to better withstand such hazards (photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Newscom).

The weather seems to be getting wilder and fiercer. From devastating hurricanes in the U.S. and the Caribbean, to raging wildfires in California and ruinous floods in India, the human and economic toll of extreme weather events is enormous. Continue reading “Climate Change Will Bring More Frequent Natural Disasters & Weigh on Economic Growth” »

Roads or Schools: A Critical Tradeoff

November 9th, 2017|

By Manoj Atolia, Bin Grace Li, Ricardo Marto, and Giovanni Melina

November 9, 2017 

Versions in 中文(Chinese), Español (Spanish), Français (French), 日本語 (Japanese)

Low-income countries tend to spend less on schools than on roads as a share of GDP (photo: iStock by Getty Images).

Roads or schools? It’s a question akin to the “guns or butter” choice that governments around the world confronted in the 20th century: How to spend a nation’s finite resources to produce the maximum benefit for its people.

In our recent IMF Working Paper, we find that low-income countries tend to spend less on schools than on roads as a share of GDP—even though investment in education may be a more pressing need in their societies. 

Continue reading “Roads or Schools: A Critical Tradeoff” »

Understanding and Managing Financial Interdependence

November 8th, 2017|

By Maurice Obstfeld

November 8, 2017

(photo: AlexLMX and David Hunt/iStock)

The 18th Annual Jacques Polak Annual Research Conference last week opened with Managing Director Christine Lagarde noting the ebb and flow of capital movements into emerging market and developing economies since the turn of the millennium. She asked three questions at the heart of the discussion, and to which speakers returned consistently during the conference: Continue reading “Understanding and Managing Financial Interdependence” »

Catch-Up Prospects in Emerging Economies: A Glass One Quarter Empty

November 6th, 2017|

By IMFBlog

November 6, 2017

Versions in  عربي (Arabic), 中文(Chinese), Español (Spanish), Français (French), 日本語 (Japanese), Русский (Russian)

A closer look at per capita incomes by country paints a different and more nuanced picture (photo: Pavel1964/iStock).

Per capita incomes in emerging market and developing economies are expected to grow by about 2 percentage points faster per year than advanced economies between 2017 and 2022. The implication is that the gap in income levels between the two groups of countries is narrowing. However, a closer look at per capita incomes by country paints a different and more nuanced picture.  Continue reading “Catch-Up Prospects in Emerging Economies: A Glass One Quarter Empty” »

More Action Needed to Resolve Problem Loans in the Caribbean

October 31st, 2017|

By Kimberly Beaton and Inci Otker

October 31, 2017

The global financial crisis has left high levels of problem loans in the Caribbean (image: William Potter/iStock by Getty Images).

The global financial crisis and subsequent economic recession saddled banks in the Caribbean with high levels of problem loans. The share of nonperforming loans to total loans more than tripled in many Caribbean countries from 2007 to 2016, and they have been slow to come down. Problem loans (loans that are 90 days or more past due) are bad news for banks and the economy. Continue reading “More Action Needed to Resolve Problem Loans in the Caribbean” »

Understanding the Global Financial Cycle

October 27th, 2017|

By Maurice Obstfeld and Mahvash S. Qureshi

October 27, 2017

The boom and bust in cross-border capital flows around the global financial crisis, and in its aftermath, have rekindled debates on the existence and implications of a “global financial cycle.”

The traditional open-economy (“Mundell-Fleming”) model postulates that countries face a “trilemma”: a trade-off among the objectives of exchange rate stability, free capital mobility, and independent monetary policy. If a country chooses exchange rate stability and free capital mobility, it must give up monetary policy autonomy. Conversely, an independent monetary policy in the presence of free capital flows is possible through exchange rate flexibility. Continue reading “Understanding the Global Financial Cycle” »

Cyber Defense Must Be Global

October 26th, 2017|

By Emanuel Kopp, Lincoln Kaffenberger, and Christopher Wilson

October 26, 2017

Versions in عربي (Arabic),  中文 (Chinese),  Español (Spanish), Français (French),  日本語 (Japanese), Русский (Russian)

Cyber risk has no geographical borders, and the threat is global, so the role of international institutions is crucial (solarseven/iStock by Getty Images).

Cyberattacks on financial institutions are becoming more common and considerably more sophisticated. High-profile cases like the Equifax breach, which compromised the confidentiality of 143 million Americans’ credit information, and the theft of US$81 million from Bangladesh Bank, are just two examples of recent cyber breaches in the financial industry.

Today, cyber risk is a permanent threat to financial institutions and the proper functioning of the highly interconnected financial system. Banks of all sizes experience cyberattacks every day. Breaches of individual firms can cause adverse knock-on effects for other financial and nonfinancial firms and give rise to systemic risk, a new dimension of cyber risk that is little understood. Continue reading “Cyber Defense Must Be Global” »

Time to Act Now: It’s All About the Right Policy Mix

October 19th, 2017|

By IMFBlog

October 19, 2017

"The road ahead is not an easy one,’’ the IMF’s Executive Directors wrote after the IMF’s first ever Annual meeting in 1946.’’ We do not underestimate the difficulties facing us.’’

More than 70 years later, we’ve encountered many a storm across continents from the Latin American sovereign debt crisis to the Savings and Loans crisis to the Asian crisis. And then there was the global financial crisis of 2008. Continue reading “Time to Act Now: It’s All About the Right Policy Mix” »

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IMFBlog is a forum for the views of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff and officials on pressing economic and policy issues of the day.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF and its Executive Board.

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