Five Keys to a Smart Fiscal Policy

By Vitor Gaspar and Luc Eyraud

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

We live in a world of dramatic economic change. Rapid technological innovation has fundamentally reshaped the way we live and work. International trade and finance, migration, and worldwide communications have made countries more interconnected than ever, exposing workers to greater competition from abroad. While these changes have brought tremendous benefits, they have also led to a growing perception of uncertainty and insecurity, particularly in advanced economies.

Today’s conditions require new, more innovative solutions, which the IMF calls smart fiscal policies. By smart policies we mean policies that facilitate change, harness its growth potential, and protect people who are hurt by it. At the same time, excessive borrowing and record levels of public debt have limited the financial resources available to government. So, fiscal policy must do more with less. Fortunately, researchers and policy makers are realizing that the fiscal tool kit is broader and the tools more powerful than they thought. Five guiding principles sketch the contours of these smart fiscal policies, which are described in chapter one of the IMF’s April 2017 Fiscal Monitor. (more…)

Global Economy Gaining Momentum—For Now

By Maurice Obstfeld

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Momentum in the global economy has been building since the middle of last year, allowing us to reaffirm our earlier forecasts of higher global growth this year and next. We project the world economy to grow at a pace of 3.5 percent in 2017, up from 3.1 percent last year, and 3.6 percent in 2018. Acceleration will be broad based across advanced, emerging, and low-income economies, building on gains we have seen in both manufacturing and trade.

Our new projection for 2017 in the April World Economic Outlook is marginally higher than what we expected in our last update. This improvement comes primarily from good economic news for Europe and Asia, as well as our continuing expectation for higher growth this year in the United States.

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The Hollowing Out of Middle-Skilled Labor Share of Income

By Mai Dao, Mitali Das, Zsoka Koczan, and Weicheng Lian

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Imagine how a typical factory today operates in many advanced economies. There are no longer many workers lined up along assembly belts. Instead, there are only a few of them—mostly likely engineers—looking at screens of highly sophisticated equipment that does the assembly once done by humans. With technological advancement constantly driving down the cost of capital, firms are increasingly replacing workers with machines.

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Designed for Growth: Taxation and Productivity

By Vitor Gaspar and Laura Jaramillo

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Productivity drives our living standards. In our April 2017 Fiscal Monitor, we show that countries can raise productivity by improving the design of their tax system, which includes both policies and administration. This would allow business reasons, not tax ones, to drive firms’ investment and employment decisions.

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Why International Financial Cooperation Remains Essential

By Tobias Adrian and Maurice Obstfeld

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

Economic growth appears to be strengthening across the large economies, but that does not mean financial-sector regulation can now be relaxed. On the contrary, it remains more necessary than ever, as does international cooperation to ensure the safety and resilience of global capital markets. That is why the Group of Twenty (G20) finance ministers and central bank governors reiterated their support for continuing financial-sector reform at their meeting in Baden-Baden last week. (more…)

Maintaining the Positive Momentum of the Global Economy

Lagarde.2015MDPORTRAIT4_114x128By Christine Lagarde

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

Baden-Baden, the German spa town built on ancient thermal springs, is a fitting venue to discuss the health of the global economy during this week’s meeting of the Group of Twenty finance ministers and central bank governors.

Policymakers will likely share a sense of growing optimism, because the recent strengthening of activity suggests that the world economy may finally snap out of its multi-year convalescence.  (more…)

By | March 14th, 2017|Advanced Economies, G-20, growth, IMF, Investment, jobs, U.S., Uncategorized|0 Comments

What to Do about Growth

camilla-andersen-may2015By Camilla Lund Andersen

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…)

Trade, Labor, and Trust

By iMFdirect

“If we’re fighting each other because we can’t design a system that actually works for everybody, then working people will again continue to mistrust our institutions, and the threat to democracy is very real; you see it.” – Sharan Burrow

Burrow is General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, and in this podcast she says collective action is needed to help better distribute the benefits of growth.  (more…)

By | February 24th, 2017|Gender issues, Globalization, IMF|0 Comments

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.  (more…)

Inclusive Growth and the IMF

prakash-loungani-128x112-72By Prakash Loungani

Versions in 中文 (Chinese), Français (French), and Español (Spanish)

Four years ago, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned of the dangers of rising inequality, a topic that has now risen to the very top of the global policy agenda.

While the IMF’s work on inequality has attracted the most attention, it is one of several new areas into which the institution has branched out in recent years. A unifying framework for all this work can be summarized in two words: Inclusive growth(more…)

By | January 24th, 2017|Economic research, Globalization, growth, IMF, Inequality|0 Comments
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