December 6, 2017
China’s leaders have made financial stability one of their top priorities. Given the size and importance of the Chinese market, with the world’s largest banks and second-largest stock market, that is welcome news for China and the world. The financial system permeates virtually all aspects of economic activity, having played a key role in facilitating rapid economic growth and in sharply reducing poverty rates.
China is moving from the world’s factory floor toward a more modern, consumer-driven economy. During this transition, however, some tensions have emerged in the financial sector. Continue reading “Improving Financial Stability in China” »
December 5, 2017
Tax revenues play a critical role for countries to create room in their budgets to increase spending on social services like health and education, and public investment. At a time when public debt levels in sub-Saharan Africa have increased sharply, raising tax revenues is the most growth-friendly way to stabilize debt. More broadly, building a country’s tax capacity is at the center of any viable development strategy to meet the ongoing needs for expanding education and health care, and filling significant infrastructure gaps. Continue reading “Taxes, Debt and Development: A One-Percent Rule to Raise Revenues in Africa” »
December 4, 2017
Population growth and technological innovation don’t necessarily have to widen inequality in developing countries. They can also offer new opportunities to increase growth and create jobs: the long-term outcomes depend on today’s policy choices. But those choices are not easy because policies for sustained and inclusive growth may conflict with short-term needs. We look at the trade-offs and how to balance short- and long-term goals for sustainable and inclusive growth. Continue reading “More People, More Technology, More Jobs: How to Build Inclusive Growth” »
This issue of F&D focuses on the Middle East and North Africa. We take stock of the region’s rapid transformation since the uprisings of 2011—a period that raised the hopes of millions for a better future, and caused despair for millions of others.
The iron lid that had kept Arab societies artificially stable was lifted by the uprisings, writes Marwan Muasher of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace. Now, the only path to stability and prosperity is through building better institutions, sharing power, and implementing policies that will foster inclusive growth—a process that will require a new social contract between governments and society. Continue reading “Shifting Sands” »
November 27, 2017
Reforms in some mostly oil-exporting countries, along with lower international fuel prices since 2014, have reduced the size of fuel subsidies in sub-Saharan Africa, and they need to do more given the recent rise in international fuel prices.
Universal fuel and energy subsidies have been prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, but they have substantial drawbacks. They tend to benefit the rich rather than the poor, foster fuel overconsumption, and crowd out more productive government spending. Continue reading “Chart of the Week: Oil Prices & Energy Subsidies” »
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” »
November 21, 2017
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” »
November 16, 2017
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” »
November 9, 2017
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.
November 8, 2017
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” »