Helping Feed the World’s Fast-Growing Population

rabah-arezki-imfBy Rabah Arezki

Agriculture and food markets are plagued with inefficiencies that have dramatic consequences for the welfare of the world’s most vulnerable populations. Globally, farm subsidies amount to over $560 billion a year—equivalent to nearly four times the aid given to developing countries by richer ones. Major emerging-market nations have increased subsidies rapidly, even as rich nations cut theirs drastically. Meanwhile, tariffs on farm products remain a major point of contention in global trade talks.

One third of global food production goes to waste, while food insecurity is still rampant in developing countries. Even with the explosion of agricultural productivity since the middle of the 20th century, food security remains a challenge for much of the developing world. Food-calorie production will have to expand by 70 percent by 2050 to keep up with a global population that’s forecast to grow to 9.7 billion from last year’s 7.3 billion. Food insecurity can lead to violence and conflicts that can spill over well beyond borders.  Continue reading “Helping Feed the World’s Fast-Growing Population” »

The Top Ten Blogs of 2016

by iMFdirect

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.  Continue reading “The Top Ten Blogs of 2016” »

Tariffs Do More Harm Than Good at Home

maurice-obstfeld2By Maurice Obstfeld

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

A longstanding challenge for the global economy is the possibility that some countries compete for export markets through artificially low prices. Political leaders and pundits sometimes propose import tariffs to offset the supposed price advantages and exert pressure for policy changes abroad. What proponents often fail to realize is that such tariff policies, while certainly hurting their targets, can also be very costly at home. And surprisingly, the self-inflicted harm can be substantial even when trade partners do not retaliate with tariffs of their own. Continue reading “Tariffs Do More Harm Than Good at Home” »

China’s Rebalancing Explained in 6 Charts

By Longmei Zhang

Version in 中文 (Chinese)

The word “rebalancing” is often used to describe China’s economic transition. But what does it mean? And how much is China rebalancing? A recent IMF paper attempts to answer these questions.  Continue reading “China’s Rebalancing Explained in 6 Charts” »

A Tale of Two Tellers

Jeff Hayden

by Jeff Hayden

My mother eases her car into the drive-through lane at our local bank, signs the back of her check, and places it in a metal canister. WHOOSH—the cylinder flies through a pneumatic tube to the teller inside the building.

In a few minutes, the teller squawks her thanks from the intercom speaker nearby. Another WHOOSH, and the canister returns. Inside we find a deposit receipt and a lollipop. Welcome to high-efficiency consumer banking, circa 1973.

Summer 2016. In our kitchen, I watch my oldest son rip open his paycheck and whip out his iPhone. TAP. SWIPE. CLICK. The deposit is made in an instant, thanks to an app that plugs him into an electronic banking network.

Continue reading “A Tale of Two Tellers” »

Back to School Blogs

By iMFdirect

It’s been a busy summer, and you might not have had a chance to read everything as it came across your screen. So as your holidays wind down and you head to work, the editors at iMFdirect have put together some key blogs on hot topics to help you get back up to speed by September.

Continue reading “Back to School Blogs” »

The Overwhelming Case for a Carbon Tax in China

By Ian Parry and Philippe Wingender

Version in 中文 (Chinese)

A single policy could do it all for China. A carbon tax—an upstream tax on the carbon content of fossil fuel supply—could dramatically cut greenhouse gases, save millions of lives, soothe the government’s fiscal anxieties, and boost green growth. Continue reading “The Overwhelming Case for a Carbon Tax in China” »

The People’s Bank of China: Monetary Policy in a Time of Transition

by iMFdirect

Today at the IMF, the Governor of the People's Bank of China, Zhou Xiaochuan, gave the Michel Camdessus Central Banking Lecture in Washington, D.C.

With China’s economy undergoing a transition, Governor Zhou spoke about managing monetary policy with multiple objectives, and the independence of central banks.

“For central banks with a single objective, it is relatively easy to be independent. However, if a central bank has multiple objectives, it may be harder to be immune from the political reality.”

Zhou also discussed the role of central banks in economies undergoing a transition to a market economy.

“If central banks do not promote financial reforms or development of financial markets, there would be no healthy financial institutions or market mechanisms, let alone smooth transmission of monetary policy. Furthermore, like other emerging market economies, transition economies have a low level of development and hoped to make up for the 'lost decades'.”

You can watch Governor Zhou’s speech and his discussion with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

PBOC pic

Reducing Inequality in Asia: Sharing the Growth Dividend

By Sonali Jain-Chandra, Kalpana Kochhar and Tidiane Kinda

Versions in 中文 (Chinese), 日本語 (Japanese)

Asia continues to be the world’s growth leader, but the gains from growth are less widely shared than before. Until about 1990, Asia grew rapidly and secured large gains in poverty reduction while simultaneously achieving a fairly equitable society. Since the early 1990s, however, the region has witnessed widening income inequality that has accompanied its robust expansion—a break from its own remarkable past.

This matters because elevated levels of inequality are harmful for the pace and sustainability of growth. What can be done? Our research finds that policies could substantially reverse the trend of rising inequality. In particular, given limited social safety nets, well-designed fiscal policies may be able to alleviate inequality without stifling the region’s wealth-creating growth.

Continue reading “Reducing Inequality in Asia: Sharing the Growth Dividend” »

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