Seizing the Opportunity for a Pro-Growth, Post-Pandemic World

2021-07-21T12:52:13-04:00July 20, 2021|

By Geoffrey Okamoto

عربي, 中文, Español, Français, 日本語, Português, Русский

Since March 2020, governments have spent $16 trillion providing fiscal support amid the pandemic, and global central banks have increased their balance sheets by a combined $7.5 trillion. Deficits are the highest they have been since World War II and central banks have provided more liquidity in the past year than in the past 10 years combined. […]

Fiscal Rules: Make them Easy to Love and Hard to Cheat

2019-03-14T12:32:58-04:00April 13, 2018|

By Xavier Debrun, Luc Eyraud, Andrew Hodge, Victor Lledo, Catherine Pattillo, Abdelhak Senhadji

April 13, 2018

Versions in Español (Spanish), Français (French),  Português  (Portuguese)

The national debt clock in New York City: a fiscal rule, like the debt ceiling, should not be set too low or too high. (photo: Frances M. Roberts/Newscom)

Rules to contain lavish government deficits are most effective if countries design them to be simple, flexible, and enforceable in the face of changing economic circumstances.

In new analysis, we look at fiscal rules in over 90 countries and, based on their experiences, find that the rules put in the place over the last three decades often were too complex, overly rigid, and difficult to enforce. […]

Chart of the Week: Inequality, Your Health, and Fiscal Policy

2019-03-15T11:06:05-04:00February 5, 2018|

By Mercedes García-EscribanoBaoping Shang, and Emmanouil (Manos) Kitsios

February 5, 2018 

 Catania Sicily, Italy.  Men with a lower level of education live shorter lives, on average, than their better educated fellow citizens (photo: Jann Huizenga/Getty Images/IStock).

The gap in life expectancy between rich and poor people is a worldwide phenomenon, and has grown dramatically in recent years in some countries. 

In our Chart of the Week, we show how this longevity gap, which reflects inequality in access to health care and its impact on peoples’ overall health, varies across countries. Men with a lower level of education live shorter lives, on average, than their better educated fellow citizens: this gap ranges from four years in Italy, to 14 years in Hungary, according to the October 2017 Fiscal Monitor. […]

Three German Economic Challenges with European Effect

2019-03-15T12:07:06-04:00January 17, 2018|

By Christine Lagarde

January 17, 2018

Berlin, Germany: The bright economic outlook offers a chance for policymakers to address the country’s economic challenges (photo: iStock/Andrey Danilovich).

The economic outlook for Germany is bright. Optimism among investors abounds, and unemployment is at a record low. Policymakers now have a unique opportunity to address the challenges facing the German economy. These are varied but include boosting wages, investing in infrastructure, and reducing the large trade surplus. As the largest economy of the euro area, Germany also has a stake in fostering reforms in the monetary union. Successfully rising to these challenges is critical for Germany and for the euro area as a whole.

[…]

Chart of the Week: The Walking Debt: Resolving China’s Zombies

2019-03-14T16:19:20-04:00December 11, 2017|

By IMFBlog

December 11, 2017

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

IMF research shows that resolving China’s zombie firms can boost productivity and long-term growth prospects (photo: DNY59/iStock by Getty Images).

China’s “zombies” are non-viable firms that are adding to the country’s rising corporate debt problem, and are bad business. Zombie firms are highly indebted and incur persistent losses, but continue to operate with the support of local governments or soft loans by banks—adding very little value to economic prospects. China has already made a lot of progress in resolving these firms, and should continue its efforts to send the zombies packing. […]

Chart of the Week: Oil Prices & Energy Subsidies

2019-03-15T13:24:03-04:00November 27, 2017|

By IMFBlog

November 27, 2017

Versions in  中文(Chinese); Español (Spanish), Français (French), 日本語 (Japanese)

Universal fuel and energy subsidies have been prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, but they have substantial drawbacks (photo: Reuters/Newscom).

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. […]

What Advanced Economies Can Do to Rise Above the “New Mediocre”

2017-04-14T01:45:00-04:00March 30, 2015|

By Era Dabla-Norris, Vikram Haksar, and Kalpana Kochhar

Global growth remains anemic more than five years after the global financial crisis. If nothing is done, the prospect of settling into a “new mediocre” will become reality, especially in advanced economies.

In many advanced economies, accommodative monetary policies, growth-friendly fiscal frameworks, and efforts to tackle private debt overhang and improve tax revenues and compliance are essential to lift economic growth in the short term.

[…]

The Future of the State Revisited: Reforming Public Expenditure

2017-04-14T02:02:19-04:00April 16, 2014|

By: Sanjeev Gupta and Martine Guerguil

(Version in EspañolFrançaisРусский中文, and 日本語)

The global financial crisis brought to the fore the question of sustainability of public finances. But it merely exacerbated a situation that was bound to attract attention sooner or later—governments all over the world have been spending more and more in recent decades. Here at the IMF, we’ve been looking into the factors behind this increase in public spending, particularly social spending, and our latest Fiscal Monitor report discusses some of the options for spending reform.

[…]

Portugal: Completing the Job

2017-04-14T02:10:14-04:00February 19, 2014|

Subeer LallBy Subir Lall

(Version in Português)

Today the IMF released a report on Portugal’s progress under the country’s Economic Adjustment Program. What is the latest assessment?

A strong start

There is no doubt that Portugal has made remarkable progress over the past three years. When the sovereign lost access to international bond markets in 2011, the outlook was grim. The economy was facing large domestic and external imbalances and dismal growth prospects. Unprecedented official financing from Portugal’s European partners and the IMF provided a window of opportunity to address the weaknesses at the root of the crisis and regain market confidence. While constrained by formal and informal strictures, the authorities rose to the occasion.

[…]

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