Many advanced countries need structural reforms to make their economies more productive and raise long-term living standards. Our new research shows that provided countries can afford it, fiscal policy, through spending or tax incentives, can help governments overcome some obstacles to the reforms, particularly in the early stages. (more…)
Basic economic theory tells us that capital should flow from slow-growing rich countries to faster-growing poor ones in search of higher returns. A decade ago, our former Research Department colleagues Eswar Prasad, Raghuram Rajan, and Arvind Subramanian examined why the reverse had been true—capital generally flowed “uphill” from poorer to richer countries. Building on the seminal work of Robert Lucas, they argued that certain characteristics of poorer countries, such as weaker institutions and lower levels of education, may reduce the risk-adjusted returns to investing there. (more…)
Deep unease about rising inequality and stagnating living standards in advanced economies was at the heart of the 2016 political upheaval. Globalization and trade have been blamed, but entrenched slow growth—what economists call secular stagnation—may be the real culprit. Parents who took for granted that their children would enjoy a brighter future had their dreams dashed by the global financial crisis of 2008. Nine years later, rising populism and a return to nationalist, inward-looking policies threaten to unravel the postwar economic order. (more…)
Did you know that while many people in advanced economies have multiple bank accounts, there are barely two bank accounts for every ten people in low-income economies? Access to financial services is essential to spread the fruits of economic growth to all, not just to the fortunate few. (more…)
New York Times columnist and best-selling author Thomas Friedman says our lives are being transformed in so many realms at once—it’s dizzying.
“We’re in the middle of 3 accelerations; the market, mother nature, and Moore’s law. Moore’s law says the power of microchips will double every 24 months, mother nature is climate change, biodiversity loss and population, and the market is digital globalization.” (more…)
What a year it has been. 12 months with big implications for the global economy.
In 2016 our readers’ curiosity focused on a wide range of hot topics in the world of economic and financial policy: the economic impact of migration, China’s economic transition, the prospects for negative interest rates, the way forward for Greece, the future of commodity prices, and the outlook for Latin America, to name a few. We compiled this top ten list for the past year based on readership. (more…)
After a year marked by financial turbulence, political surprises, and unsteady growth in many parts of the world, the Fed’s decision this month to raise interest rates for just the second time in a decade is a healthy symptom that the recovery of the world’s largest economy is on track.
The Fed’s action was hardly a surprise: markets had for weeks placed a high probability on last week’s move. But market developments preceding the Fed decision did surprise many market watchers. (more…)
During 2007-08, house prices in several countries collapsed, marking the onset of a global financial crisis. The IMF’s Global House Price Index, a simple average of real house prices for 57 countries, is now almost back to its level before the crisis (Chart 1). Is it time to worry again about a global fall in house prices? (more…)
The link between jobs and economic growth is not always a straight line for countries, but that doesn’t mean it’s broken.
Economists track the relationship between jobs and growth using Okun’s Law, which says that higher growth leads to lower unemployment.
New research from the IMF looks at Okun’s Law and asks, based on the evidence, will growth create jobs? The findings show a striking variation across countries in how employment responds to GDP growth over the course of a year. (more…)