The Wealth of Nations: Governments Can Better Manage What They Own and Owe

By Vitor Gaspar, Jason Harris, and Alexander Tieman

October 10, 2018

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A firefighter in Auckland, New Zealand: when governments know what they own they can put their assets to better use and can earn about 3 percent of GDP more in revenues to spend on citizens’ well being (Photo: Rafael Ben-Ari/Newscom)

What is the state of your personal finances? You probably think first about your debts: your mortgage, your credit card balance, and your student loans. But you probably also think about how much cash is sitting in the bank, the value of your house, and the rest of your nest egg.

Surprisingly, most governments do not approach their finances this way. Continue reading “The Wealth of Nations: Governments Can Better Manage What They Own and Owe” »

The Financial System Is Stronger, but New Vulnerabilities Have Emerged in the Decade Since the Crisis

By Tobias Adrian

October 10, 2018

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Debt owed by governments, companies and households in economies with globally systemically important financial sectors has risen since the global financial crisis (Photo: Richard B. Levine/Newscom)

Although the global expansion has plateaued, easy monetary policies continue to support growth. But we shouldn’t rest too easily. Chapter 1 of the latest Global Financial Stability Report finds that short-term risks to the financial system have increased somewhat over the past six months. Continue reading “The Financial System Is Stronger, but New Vulnerabilities Have Emerged in the Decade Since the Crisis” »

A Decade After Lehman, the Financial System Is Safer. Now We Must Avoid Reform Fatigue

By Adolfo Barajas, Claudio Raddatz, and James P. Walsh

October 3, 2018

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A ticker in New York’s Times Square flashes the news of the collapse of Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008: In the decade since, the financial sector has  strengthened considerably, but the reform agenda remains incomplete (Photo: Joshua Lott/Reuters/Newscom)

In the decade since the collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers sparked the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression, regulation and supervision of the financial sector have been strengthened considerably. This has reduced the risk of another crisis, with all its attendant woes—unemployment, foreclosures, bankruptcies. But a new risk has emerged: reform fatigue. Continue reading “A Decade After Lehman, the Financial System Is Safer. Now We Must Avoid Reform Fatigue” »

Give Today’s Children a Chance

By  Christine Lagarde and Vitor Gaspar

September 24, 2018

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Children in early childhood education in Indonesia: more money put into education helps countries achieve their Sustainable Development Goals (Photo: Ajun-Ally/Pacific Press/Newscom)

World leaders are gathering at the United Nations to discuss how to deliver on development for all that is economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable—“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Continue reading “Give Today’s Children a Chance” »

Ten Years After Lehman—Lessons Learned and Challenges Ahead

By Christine Lagarde

September 5, 2018

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A trader on the New York Stock Exchange the day US investment bank Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy: the global crisis that followed is a defining moment of our time (Photo: Nancy-Kaszerman/ZUMA Press/Newscom)

The global financial crisis remains one of the defining events of our time. It will forever mark the generation that lived through it. Continue reading “Ten Years After Lehman—Lessons Learned and Challenges Ahead” »

Chart of the Week: Educate Girls and Women to Boost Equality

By IMFBlog

August 22, 2018

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Schoolgirls in Valladolid, Mexico: Policies that focus on educating girls increase the likelihood that they will enter the labor force (photo: kertu_ee/iStock by Getty Images)

Government policies have boosted women’s participation in the work force. But women still make up a smaller percentage of the labor force than men in most countries. Of the many policies available, such as education and legal rights, which ones provide the most “bang for the buck” to reduce inequality between men and women? Continue reading “Chart of the Week: Educate Girls and Women to Boost Equality” »

The Global Expansion: Still Strong but Less Even, More Fragile, Under Threat

By Maurice Obstfeld

July 16, 2018

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The escalation of trade tensions is the greatest near-term threat to global growth (photo: wildpixel/Getty Images by iStock)

Amid rising tensions over international trade, the broad global expansion that began roughly two years ago has plateaued and become less balanced. Continue reading “The Global Expansion: Still Strong but Less Even, More Fragile, Under Threat” »

Our Digital Future

By Camilla Lund Andersen

May 30, 2018

“Money makes the world go around,” Liza Minnelli famously sang in the movie Cabaret. Money has for centuries been central to human relationships. Loss of faith in its value can result in economic and political instability, even war. In the past few years, financial technology—fintech for short—has caught the world’s imagination by offering alternatives to traditional means of payment. Will digitalization redefine money? In this issue, we explore the possible consequences, good and bad. Continue reading “Our Digital Future” »

Chart of the Week: Greenery and Prosperity

By João Tovar Jalles and Prakash Loungani

May 21, 2018

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Brandenburg, Germany: in three advanced economies—Germany, the United Kingdom, and France—emissions have fallen despite the increase in incomes (photo: Caro / Kaiser/Newscom).

Economic growth has traditionally moved in tandem with pollution. But can countries break this link and manage to grow while lowering pollution?

Continue reading “Chart of the Week: Greenery and Prosperity” »

Bringing Down High Debt

By Vitor Gaspar and Laura Jaramillo

April 18, 2018

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High debt makes governments’ financing vulnerable to sudden changes in market sentiment (photo: NYSE-LUCAS JACKSON-REUTERS Newscom).

Global debt hit a new record high of $164 trillion in 2016, the equivalent of 225 percent of global GDP. Both private and public debt have surged over the past decade. High debt makes government’s financing vulnerable to sudden changes in market sentiment. It also limits a government’s ability to provide support to the economy in the event of a downturn or a financial crisis.

Countries should use the window of opportunity afforded by the economic upswing to strengthen the state of their fiscal affairs. The April 2018 Fiscal Monitor explores how countries can reduce government deficits and debt in a growth-friendly way.

Continue reading “Bringing Down High Debt” »

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